My Soccer World

Football: English Will Sweep The Italians, Says Anelka

Posted on: January 23, 2009

ROME : Chelsea’s French forward Nicolas Anelka confidently claimed the three English teams facing Italian opposition in the Champions League second round will record a clean sweep.

Anelka made his undiplomatic prediction in an interview with Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

His Chelsea team face Juventus, reigning champions Manchester United take on Inter Milan while Arsenal were drawn against AS Roma.

“If I had to make a bet I’d say 3-0 to the English. Chelsea, Manchester and Arsenal progressing ahead of Juve, Inter and Roma,” he said. “Watch what happens but anything can happen.”

Anelka is particularly looking forward to coming up against Juve’s David Trezeguet, who came through the French junior system at the same time as the man known as ‘the Incredible Sulk’.

“It’s a huge match, Juve are top drawer,” he said. “It’s always tough against Italian teams, tactically they’re the best in Europe. If we don’t break them down, if we don’t score, it will be very risky for us.

“We have to score in the first leg (at home) and not concede in order to have a chance in Turin.”

Trezeguet, who has played only eight minutes this season due to injury, should be available for the clash.

“That’s terrible news for us. I admire David, there aren’t many goalscorers like him around. He was born to score goals. “Juve are as good as Inter. (Alessandro) Del Piero is an incredible talent. (Pavel) Nedved, (Gianluigi) Buffon, everyone. We’ll have to be at our best to beat Juve.”

Anelka has played for eight different teams in four different countries during his career but never in Italy, and that despite being married to Italian singer Barbara Tausia.

However, the 29-year-old, whose family hails from the island of Martinique, revealed he came close a couple of times.

“My wife and her family are from Italy. I met her in Paris, she was on TV with her eurodance group Eu4ya,” he said.

“She sings and dances beautifully and she’s an even better cook, Italian of course.

“But I don’t yet know Italy. (Sven Goran) Eriksson wanted me at Lazio when Arsenal sold me to Real Madrid and I could have gone to Juventus if (Didier) Deschamps had stayed.”

Anelka has had a potted career, winning the double in England with Arsenal, the Champions League with Real Madrid and the Turkish title with Fenerbahce.

He also won the European Championships with France in 2000, when they beat Italy in the final, but was not part of the squad that won the World Cup on home soil in 1998, nor three years ago when they lost to Italy in the final in Germany.

– AFP /ls

Channel News Asia

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