Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Anelka Is Desperate to Keep His Chelsea Love Affair Going

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Anelka Is Desperate to Keep His Chelsea Love Affair Going

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Johnson

NICOLAS ANELKA may have seen one career with 'Les Bleus' end prematurely this year but he is determined to extend his love affair with the blues of Chelsea for as long as possible.

It is just four months since the 31-yearold was sent home by France in controversial circumstances from the World Cup, which prompted the striker to retire from international football.

For a player whose attitude has earned a lot of criticism throughout his career, the incident provided more ammunition for the prosecution to question his status in the game.

The former Arsenal star began this season at Chelsea back under the microscope and with many questioning whether he could cope with such adversity. He may have been handed a one-year extension to his current deal to keep him at the club until 2012, yet the club's pursuit of Fernando Torres in the summer also unsettled him.

While in the past it seemed that when the going got tough Anelka got going -- as his total of eight transfers since coming through at Paris St-Germain in the mid-1990s would suggest -- he has demonstrated great character as well as ability to cement his position as a key member of Carlo Ancelotti's first team for the forseeable future.

Anelka, who joined Chelsea from Bolton for [pounds sterling]15million in January 2008, is in the best form of his career, leading Didier Drogba in the goal-scoring charts at the club with eight goals already to his name this season.

In the win against Spartak Moscow in midweek, he also reached the 50-goal landmark for Chelsea, which is the first time he has achieved that feat for any club. Anelka argues it is another sign of the level of contentment he has found at Stamford Bridge and is already looking to extend his contract once again at the end of this season.

He said: "It is the first time I have scored that many for any club but it is the first time I have spent more than two-and-a-half years at a club as well.

"It shows how happy I am at Chelsea.

When I first signed here I knew had arrived at a big club and I wanted to stay as long as possible. …

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