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Apr 25, 2014

'Anelka warned Domenech before strike'

A book written by the French national team's former press chief claims Nicolas Anelka had warned Raymond Domenech of impending disaster ahead of Les Bleus' catastrophic and controversy-ridden 2010 World Cup.

Nicolas Anelka was sent home from South Africa after clashing with now-departed coach Raymond Domenech
Nicolas Anelka was sent home in 2010 after insulting coach Raymond Domenech.

Anelka, now 35, was sent home from South Africa four years ago after insulting then-France coach Domenech at halftime of their country's 2-0 group-stage defeat to Mexico.

In a show of solidarity, the remainder of the squad then went on strike prior to exiting the competition after failing to reach the knockout stages.

The "bus of shame" incident in Knysna remains a stain on the national team to this day, but in his book "Knysna: at the heart of Les Bleus' disaster in South Africa, " published in France on Friday, Francois Manardo claims it could have been avoided.

The man who was Les Bleus' press attache between 2010 and 2012 claimed Anelka confided in him after Manardo had been sent to ask the then-Chelsea forward to apologise.

"I've been wanting to leave for a while -- I've been asking myself what I was doing here. From the start, he has exasperated us with his stupid lessons," Manardo quoted Anelka as saying in extracts from the book published in Le Parisien. "It's my wife who convinced me to stay. I told her I was disgusted by the coach, because I had the feeling that he took me for an idiot. We have no identity to our game. He changes the lineup all the time -- we have no style.

"He came to see me at my home in London before the World Cup. He told me that he wanted me to lead the line for Les Bleus. I told him that wasn't my game, that I was a player that needed to move, that I needed space to be able to express myself, with a centre-forward in front of me. And here's the result. I'm playing s--- in his system and I give the team nothing."

As a result of his actions, Anelka was given an 18-game ban by the French Football Federation, effectively ending his international career.

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