Work in Sports
Anelka's future with Madrid in doubt
Posted: Sunday March 12, 2000 01:09 PM
MADRID, Spain (AP) -- French striker Nicolas Anelka missed a third consecutive training session with Real Madrid on Sunday throwing his future with the club further into doubt.
Anelka, Spanish soccer's most costly signing ever at $35.5 million, was suspended without pay by Real Madrid on Saturday after he failed to train for a second day.
The 20-year-old has not fit in with the Spanish club since joining from England's Arsenal last August for a seven-season contract.
A leading scorer with the London team, he has only tallied once in the Spanish league. Introverted by nature, he has apparently won few friends on the team which boasts several international stars.
"Anelka's problem must be in the head," Madrid chairman Lorenzo Sanz told reporters late Saturday. "Otherwise it can't be explained.
"Why does he do these childish thing and then look to get paid as an adult?" Sanz added.
Anelka first opted not to train Friday after an exchange of words with coach Vicente del Bosque. He was subsequently ruled out for Saturday's league game against Sevilla and ordered to train with the reserves.
The striker later told reporters that he had not trained because he was not happy with Del Bosque's playing tactics.
Spanish news reports Sunday cited French television as saying Anelka had decided not to train again Saturday because he had been suspended by the team. He did not, however, rule out returning to play for the club.
Last September, Anelka threatened to quit soccer altogether after saying he was dissatisfied with Madrid. A couple months later he argued with team management that he was being played out of position.