On This Day in 2010: France striker Nicolas Anelka suspended for 18 matches

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Nicolas Anelka was suspended for 18 international matches by the French Football Federation in relation to his conduct at the World Cup on this day in 2010.

Chelsea striker Anelka was disciplined for his part in the internal strife which contributed to Les Bleus’ early exit from the tournament in South Africa.

Patrice Evra was handed a five-match ban, Franck Ribery suspended for three matches and Jeremy Toulalan for one game.

Soccer – UEFA European Championship 2008 Qualifying – Group B – France v Scotland – Parc des Princes
Nicolas Anelka won 69 caps and scored 14 goals for France (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The remaining members of the 23-man squad escaped further punishment having already missed the first match of Laurent Blanc’s reign as coach.

Evra, Eric Abidal, Anelka, Ribery and Toulalan were called to the FFF hearing to discuss the behaviour of the national team during the World Cup, when in-fighting led to them being eliminated in the group stage.

Les Bleus’ campaign descended into farce after the squad went on strike when Anelka was sent home from South Africa following an altercation with then coach Raymond Domenech.

Soccer – 2010 FIFA World Cup Draw – Cape Town International Convention Centre
Anelka clashed with France manager Raymond Domenech (Gareth Copley/PA)

France finished bottom of their group after scoring just one goal and earning one point in three matches.

The fall-out from the team’s lamentable performance led to new coach Blanc suspending all 23 members of the World Cup squad from selection for a friendly against Norway, while the FFF also withheld bonuses owed to the players.

Anelka went on to dismiss his ban as irrelevant given he claimed to have already retired from international football. He duly never played for France again.

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