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By ESPN Staff

Anelka reveals full extent of Domenech row

Nicolas Anelka admits his ''head was gone'' during the infamous row with Raymond Domenech which led to him being sent home from the World Cup, but denied swearing at his former national team boss.

Anelka was expelled from the French camp after the spat which occurred at half-time of the Group A match against Mexico on June 16, with Anelka claiming the argument centred over his positioning on the pitch.

The squad subsequently revolted against Domenech, refusing to train on June 20 - just two days before their final group game against host nation South Africa - in protest at Anelka's treatment.

''We returned to the dressing room and, for five minutes, the players talked. The coach arrived and said to me: 'Damn, Nico, I've told you to stop dropping back and stay up front','' he told France Soir. ''I told him if I stay there, I do not get a touch of the ball, and said: 'Stop telling me to stay up front. I won't stay up front'.

''It carried on, but at that moment my head was gone. I wasn't even listening to what he said.''

Domenech's immediate reaction, Anelka claims, was to dismiss him from the squad despite the efforts of captain Patrice Evra to pacify both parties.

''He said: 'Go, it's fine, leave' and asked one of his assistants to get Dede (Andre-Pierre Gignac) ready,'' the Chelsea striker continued. ''I said: 'No problem, deal with your team'.

''Pat (Evra) and Franck (Ribery) were next to me and they said: 'Stop, Nico, calm down. Let it go, shut up!' Then Pat asked me to put my jersey back on and said to the coach that these things happen all the time, that he should not react on a whim and make me leave. Again, the coach didn't listen and made his changes.''

In the days that followed, Evra accused a ''traitor'' within the party of attempting to destabilise the squad by revealing details of the row, which was splashed over the front cover of L'Equipe.

Evra was seen arguing with fitness coach Robert Duverne moments before the training-ground strike began, though the latter strenuously denied leaking the information to the press.

Anelka claimed he did not care who the 'mole' was, and recalled his reaction when the country's president Nicolas Sarkozy became involved in the fall-out from the row.

''When the president said that if a player had made remarks like that against his coach, he deserved to be excluded, I told him he was absolutely right,'' he said. ''But I did not feel concerned because those words did not come out of my mouth.''


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