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Apr 16, 2014

Anelka: No knowledge of Brazil move

Atletico Mineiro director Eduardo Maluf criticised former West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka's professionalism after he refused to travel to Brazil.

Nicolas Anelka has denied that he was set to join Atletico Mineiro, after the Brazilian club claimed to have pulled the plug on a deal to sign him.

Atletico president Alexandre Kalil announced on April 6 that the Copa Libertadores champions had agreed to sign Anelka, but on Tuesday a director at the club said that they had called off the move because the former Real Madrid and Arsenal striker had failed to show up in Brazil.

On Wednesday, however, the story took another twist when Anelka, 35, released a video -- which he created last week -- on his Facebook page, denying any knowledge of a transfer.

“Today is Tuesday,” Anelka said in the video. “I’m supposedly expected in Brazil because I’m supposed to have... reached an agreement with a Brazilian club.

“I’m also supposed to have signed for this club. I don’t know -- it’s an incredible story that’s happened to me.  In any case, I don’t know about it. I received an offer from this club, certainly, through an agent.

“So, for a start, I’ve therefore never spoken with this president. I’ve never spoken to anyone from this club. I never accepted the offer. So I don’t know how I could already have signed this much talked about contract. 

"For me, this is an extraordinary story. I’ve spent 20 years in football and I’ve never seen that yet. I’ve never experienced it.”

Anelka was fired by West Brom in March after receiving a five-game ban for a goal celebration that was adjudged to have been racially-aggravated.

The former Chelsea striker is currently in Kuwait on a religious trip and, in the latest video, he indicated that he had never envisaged moving to Brazil.

“It’s false,” Anelka said. “I said recently that I was going to stay at home a bit, take some holidays and to look after my children.

“That’s what I’m doing and that’s what I have the intention of doing. I already know where I want to go if I ever intend to continue. But it won’t be Brazil in any case.”

The video runs to just over two minutes. Anelka said he was “obliged” to make it because he expected that the media would seek to make him look bad by the end of the story.

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