Ex-Gunner Watch

Discussion in 'Arsenal History' started by Bossa, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. BigPoppaPump

    BigPoppaPump Could Never Wifey An Opp Thot

    I'll never understand why Arsenal fans hate Alexis so much, we bought him in his prime used up his best years then got rid. Isn't that what we want to be doing?
     
    Dennis_Bergkamp_10 likes this.
  2. Riou

    Riou Non-Stop Nostalgia

    @American_Gooner



    ...even though this is a bit disrespectful to Arsène, hopefully this means he will move away from talking about us so much and mainly stick to the Chavs.

    He also picked Gerrard as the best player he has played against which really annoyed me though, should of picked Vieira here imo.
     
    American_Gooner likes this.
  3. American_Gooner

    American_Gooner Not actually American. Unless Di Marzio says so. Moderator

    @Notorious Big will be crushed
     
    Riou likes this.
  4. Idiotologue

    Idiotologue Well-Known Member

    It's the manner of his exit, refusing to come into a game as a sub, laughing on the bench. I do think his service is being unjustly discredited though.
     
  5. Riou

    Riou Non-Stop Nostalgia

    Was going to tag him initially, but thought you deserved that honour in the end :lol:
     
    American_Gooner likes this.
  6. hydrofluoric acid

    hydrofluoric acid Dishonest To His Federation

    Vieira at Juventus? Which Fabregas ran circles around when we faced them in CL?

    Nah Fabregas never faced prime Vieira.
     
  7. Riou

    Riou Non-Stop Nostalgia

    Felt that would have been a respectable nod to Arsenal, that is probably his most famous game really, a real passing of the torch moment.

    Also Vieira was still pretty good at that point, was outstanding at the World Cup that summer...not quite what he once was though I agree.
     
  8. Notorious Big

    Notorious Big Drunka In Friend Zone

    To be fair,he said in another interview that Wenger was most imporant because he gave him real chance and recognized his talent.Took him when he was only 16 and made him player like he was now.

    From professional point of view,Mourinho was maybe better for him,won first EPL title under him and had amazing first season there.

    Remember that Rooney and Giggs said that they learned more from LVG than from Sir Alex and you can't never compare them in Utd :lol:


    https://metro.co.uk/2020/05/22/ryan...ed-louis-van-gaal-sir-alex-ferguson-12746222/
     
    Macho and Riou like this.
  9. Notorious Big

    Notorious Big Drunka In Friend Zone

    Even choosing Gerrard is for big debate.

    Scholes,Lampard,Xavi,Iniesta,Pirlo etc ? He played against them and think they're all better than Gerrard.Maybe he played in some poor Liverpool's squads,but all these are better imo.
     
  10. Riou

    Riou Non-Stop Nostalgia

    On his fav game he played in...

    "When I was at Arsenal and we beat Barcelona 2-1 in the Champions League first leg at the Emirates in 2011. I think we played sensational in that game."
     
    Notorious Big likes this.
  11. Notorious Big

    Notorious Big Drunka In Friend Zone

    "And made great assist to my boy Iniesta at Camp Nou " :rofl:
     
    Riou likes this.
  12. American_Gooner

    American_Gooner Not actually American. Unless Di Marzio says so. Moderator

  13. squallman

    squallman Still Pining for Wenger

    Wasn't he already a millionaire? Its not like we were paying him in peanuts.
     
  14. krengon

    krengon One Arsene Wenger Trusted



    This could be interesting
     
    Riou and American_Gooner like this.
  15. Riou

    Riou Non-Stop Nostalgia

    This could be a very good watch, will be interesting to find out about him as he has always been quite guarded really, great player on his day too.

    Loved how baggy shirts were back then :lol:
     
    krengon likes this.
  16. American_Gooner

    American_Gooner Not actually American. Unless Di Marzio says so. Moderator

    Any other Nasri fans on here? The Athletic had a piece on his unfulfilled potential, quite long but fascinating reading:
    “Sometimes it’s better to keep quiet, but it’s something I can’t do. I managed it when I was younger and sometimes I went home with a knot in my stomach. I therefore prefer to say everything I think, even if it means I’m not liked.”

    Samir Nasri was hooked up to a morphine drip, in hospital for 12 days with viral meningitis, when he came to a significant conclusion.

    Rather than a stream of visitors and well-wishers, there had been a trickle. It opened his eyes to the superficiality of so many relationships, particularly in football.

    From that moment on, from the age of 20, he refused to allow that knot in his stomach to tighten. If he felt something needed to be said, he would say it — and to hell with anyone who thought less of him for it. And if nothing else, being himself and speaking his mind has allowed him to sleep at night without getting that horrible feeling in the pit of his stomach once more.

    There is regret, though. That is inevitable when, a few weeks past his 33rd birthday, he finds himself drifting further and further from the illustrious stages that his mesmerising, precocious talent used to illuminate. From Marseille to Arsenal to Manchester City to Sevilla to Antalyaspor to West Ham United to Anderlecht and now, once more, to a place called uncertainty.

    If Nasri’s move to Belgium last summer, linking up with his former City team-mate Vincent Kompany, was greeted with considerable fanfare — “Le petit prince est arrivé!” — his departure on June 30 went unheralded, as if it was just too awkward for either party to acknowledge. Long before Nasri’s contract expired, even before a dispute over his whereabouts at the start of lockdown, Anderlecht’s sporting director Michael Verschueren suggested signing him had been a mistake.

    And so, while City and Arsenal prepare to face off in an FA Cup semi-final on Saturday, Nasri, who represented both clubs with distinction (at times at least), finds himself in limbo: between clubs, between jobs, awaiting his next challenge. “We’ll see what the future holds,” he said recently. Que sera sera. It would all seem quite reasonable enough, were it not for the enduring frustration that an enthralling, intriguing and certainly controversial career seems to be meandering towards an unsatisfactory conclusion.

    “Samir has almost become the invisible man,” French journalist, broadcaster and author Philippe Auclair says. “If you mention him in France now, the reaction is along the lines of, ‘Of course. Samir Nasri. Where is he now? What happened to him?’ I would say there is a slight incomprehension about the path his career has taken — a feeling that this is an absolutely wondrous talent which has gone to waste over recent years. We’re talking about a player who is so gifted and so intelligent that it’s hard to understand why his career seems like an unfinished symphony.”

    “We’re talking about a big, big talent,” Jose Anigo, who gave a 17-year-old Nasri his debut for Marseille, tells The Athletic. “He was something special. The problem with Samir is the character. I’m not saying he has a bad character — he’s a good guy — but it’s a strong character. He talks a lot. When he was 17, he would talk in the dressing room like a player who was 30. And sometimes for a footballer, it’s better not to talk.

    “You might want to tell the truth, but sometimes telling the truth is not good for the career.”

    March 9, 2010; London.

    Arsenal were leading Porto 2-0 on the night, 3-2 up on aggregate, but the mood inside the Emirates was still tense in the 63rd minute, when Nasri received possession on the right wing. There were three opponents within 10 yards of him and Abou Diaby’s decoy run didn’t fool any of them. Nasri dribbled towards the corner flag, but Raul Meireles wasn’t giving him an inch, so he checked back again and this time he accelerated infield, caressing the ball with his right foot as he moved towards the corner of the penalty area.

    At one point, there were three Porto players within an arm’s length of him. There didn’t seem any way for Nasri to do what he did next.

    He surged away from Meireles, switching to his left and then back to his right as he weaved in and out of challenges from Cristian Rodriguez and Alvaro Pereira before moving decisively on to his right foot and slamming the ball past goalkeeper Helton and inside the far post. The whole sequence, from the moment he first moved infield, lasted about seven seconds.

    “Just sensational,” said Andy Gray in the Sky Sports commentary box. “Absolutely sensational.”

    It was a moment that summed up the audacity of the young Nasri, fleet of foot and even quicker of wit. Towards the end of that year, there were two sublime goals in a 2-1 victory over Fulham. The first saw him ghost into the penalty area and, with four deft touches, send Brede Hangeland and Aaron Hughes sliding past like a couple of hapless henchmen before he struck a left-footed shot into the net.

    The second was, again, about keeping his composure and his footing when all around him were losing theirs. He wove around the challenges of Hughes, Dickson Etuhu and John Pantsil, dribbled past goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, pirouetted back onto his right foot and, from a tight angle, swept the ball home.

    “The goals were a combination of touch, intelligence, special talent and a calmness as well,” his manager Arsène Wenger said after a win that took Arsenal to the top of the Premier League. “He needed to be patient to finish on both occasions and he did that well. When he came here, his game was based on coming onto the ball. Now he has more variations, makes runs without the ball and is, overall, more efficient. He was a bit too much attracted to the ball. Now he can use his pace — he has exceptional pace. I have always been a strong believer in him. Many people questioned me when I took him here, but he is showing he has exceptional talent. I think there is more to come from him.”

    Later that month, Nasri was named French player of the year by France Football magazine. If anything, his surprising omission from the squad for that year’s World Cup finals — from which they were eliminated with just one point from three games amid such discord and dissent that four players were banned for a total of 27 matches by the French Football Federation (FFF) — worked in his favour, but ultimately it came down to his form for Arsenal both in the Champions League and the Premier League. He was named on the shortlist both the PFA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards in 2010-11. Rio Ferdinand, the Manchester United defender, suggested Nasri would have been a worthy winner.

    At the end of that campaign, which saw Arsenal finish empty-handed for a sixth consecutive season, Nasri spoke openly about his ambition to become the best player in the world.

    “We already earn huge wages,” he said. “My priority is to make a big career and to win titles. I’m hungry for titles. I play football because I love this sport and want to feel the emotion of winning. With no titles under your belt, you can’t be in the list for the Ballon d’Or.”
     
    Gooner416 likes this.
  17. American_Gooner

    American_Gooner Not actually American. Unless Di Marzio says so. Moderator

    Nobody at Arsenal held it against Cesc Fabregas when he rejoined Barcelona in the summer of 2011. He had arrived as a 16-year-old in the summer of 2003 and had been there for eight years. There was always the expectation that he would return to Catalonia one day and, if anything, Wenger was grateful he had given Arsenal one more year after Barcelona pushed so hard to sign him before the 2010 World Cup.

    Nobody was quite so forgiving of Nasri’s move to Manchester City, though. He was the same age as Fabregas, 24, but he had only been there three years. He was not perceived to have served his time — even though time, ticking down on a contract that had just 12 months to run, was precisely what counted against Arsenal in this instance.

    Manchester United had been extremely keen too; there was a clandestine meeting between Nasri and Sir Alex Ferguson in Paris that summer. As with his unsuccessful pursuit of Eden Hazard a year later, Ferguson blamed the demands of the player’s agents for scuppering the bid to get Nasri to Old Trafford. At one stage, late in a summer-long saga, City signalled they were ready to end negotiations due to concerns about the size of the agents’ commission.

    It all added up to a perception of a move fuelled by pure greed. That was certainly the feeling around the Emirates when Arsenal played Liverpool in their first home game of the 2011-12 Premier League season. Nasri was subjected to some unsavoury chants by Arsenal supporters but, over the course of the afternoon, their ire was redirected towards Stan Kroenke, the club’s American owner. “Spend some ****ing money,” went a chant that would be repeated many times over the years that followed.

    In difficult circumstances, Nasri played reasonably well — defiantly, perhaps — and he left for City a few days later with Wenger’s reluctant blessing. That chastening month ended with Arsenal thrashed 8-2 at Old Trafford, leading to the desperate, last-minute trolley dash that saw reinforcements arrive in the contrasting talents of Per Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun and Park Chu-young.


    In public, though, Wenger was scathing about Nasri’s career choice.

    “Frankly, you don’t go to Manchester City to win titles,” he said. “Players go to Manchester City because they pay much better than Arsenal.”

    It seemed an outdated slur. Arsenal were a better team than City when Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor moved north in the summer of 2009. Two years later, City finished above Arsenal in the Premier League while also winning the FA Cup. Arsenal were losing their best players. City were continually adding to a star-studded squad. For Nasri, the move was a no-brainer. As he said midway through that season, with City on course to win the title and Arsenal facing another battle for a top-four finish, “Look at the table.”

    Beyond money and ambition, though, there was another significant factor.

    Nasri felt insulted — affronted — by Arsenal’s approach when it came to negotiating an extension to the four-year contract he signed when he arrived from Marseille in 2008. “I started discussions with Arsenal in October (2010) and I told them I wanted to stay,” he said after joining City. “In December, they came back with a proposition. I told them what I wanted and they said in February they would come back to me. They didn’t come back in February because, you know, we were playing in all the competitions. I wait, I wait, I wait… and then they came back in June and it was a little bit too late.”

    As one figure from Arsenal in that era puts it, “Samir was upset because he felt they dragged their feet over the contract. The club tried hard to keep him after that — they made him a really good offer — but I don’t think there was any way he was going to stay. Let’s be honest, City was a great move for him financially and football-wise. But even if the City offer hadn’t been there, I think he would have just run down his contract and gone on a free that summer.

    “He felt disrespected. He’s one of those people who talks a lot about respect. If he feels you’ve disrespected him, that’s it, you’re finished with him.”

    March 21, 2012; Manchester.

    City were running out of time in their pursuit of that long-awaited first Premier League title. They had been hauled in and overtaken by Manchester United over the previous few weeks and, on a tense night at the Etihad, they were 1-0 down to Chelsea as the game entered its closing stages.

    Various figures at City cite that evening as their enduring memory of Nasri’s time at the club. The narrative on the night was all about Carlos Tevez’s impact as a substitute on his return from self-imposed exile, but Nasri, after a hesitant start to his City career, was outstanding. After Sergio Aguero equalised from the penalty spot, it was Nasri who scored the winner, playing a one-two with Tevez and calmly clipping the ball over the advancing Petr Cech before ripping off his shirt in celebration.

    There were plenty of highlights over his years at City: setting up three goals on his debut away to Tottenham Hotspur, a goal and a man-of-the-match performance against Sunderland in the League Cup final in 2014, the crucial opening goal against West Ham United in May 2014 on the day they won their second title in three seasons. To those Arsenal supporters who accused him of putting money before ambition in moving to Manchester, City’s successes offered the perfect riposte. “I hope they are watching me now collecting my Premier League medal,” Nasri said in 2012. “I believe they (Arsenal) have not won a trophy for many years now.”

    He was not alone in having a volatile relationship with Roberto Mancini, but, along with Mario Balotelli, he was one of the few players in that squad who were capable of getting the senior players to sympathise with their manager. Mancini once said he was so frustrated by Nasri’s inconsistency that he sometimes felt like punching him. It was said in jest, but came with a more serious accusation that “sometimes a player can think it is enough to play at 50 per cent.” This infuriated Nasri, though he said he was “sad” when Mancini was sacked a few months later.

    “Samir was one of the most gifted players I’ve ever seen — and I don’t give that praise lightly,” his City team-mate Micah Richards says. “The way he moved past people was as good as anyone. In training he would regularly be the best player. I had a really good relationship with him and I enjoyed playing with him. When he came to Man City, I think it pushed him on as he was around key players. He was key in the (2011-12) title-winning season and, although there was a cloud over the way he left Arsenal, he came and won trophies at Man City. Perhaps he could have done even more with his natural ability, but he was a top player.”

    Nasri was more successful at City than he’d been in north London, but less consistent. He wasn’t such a divisive, antagonistic presence in the dressing room as William Gallas, Emmanuel Frimpong (“I have never liked Nasri”) and others found him at Arsenal, but he certainly divided opinion among his team-mates. There was a much clearer dressing-room hierarchy in Manchester — far more leaders, far more strong, powerful voices, such as Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Joe Hart — and Nasri’s outspoken tendencies were not encouraged.

    Under Mancini’s successor Manuel Pellegrini, Nasri was given more freedom to create, but injuries became an issue, as did his weight. On a pre-season tour of China, after taking over as City manager in the summer of 2016, Pep Guardiola refused to pick Nasri, saying he was overweight. Even in his Arsenal days, there had been a battle to keep the pounds off. Sources at Arsenal remember him going to a health spa in Italy during international weeks to detox and work off the excess pounds.

    One source at Arsenal said, “Samir was never a drinker but he liked his food. These days, most of the very top players aren’t just great footballers, they’re athletes. Samir was a great footballer but I wouldn’t say he was an athlete.”

    Then there was his driving. It is striking just how many people bring that up. As well as the various court appearances over speeding offences, there were complaints from members of the public — and in one case, a former player who called one of Nasri’s clubs to register his concern.

    On top of all of this, Nasri inevitably rubbed some people up the wrong way. Some at City found him charming. Others considerably less so. According to one source, “he was like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”.

    A couple of months ago, apparently in nostalgic mood, Nasri posted a picture on Instagram.

    It was a team photo from the Under-17 European Championship final of 2004, when France beat a Spain side including Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas, who would both go on to win the World Cup six years later. Nasri underlined his status as one of the most coveted teenagers in Europe by scoring the decisive goal with seconds remaining.

    “What a team that was,” Nasri wrote — and yes, looking at the line-up, there are some recognisable faces. There was Nasri in the No 10 shirt. There was the flamboyant Hatem Ben Arfa, who was already on the verge of a first-team debut at Lyon. And there was Jeremy Menez, already making waves at Sochaux. Those three were so impressive that Karim Benzema, also at Lyon, was on the bench for the final.

    In France, they became known as Generation ’87, a new wave of talent tipped to follow in the illustrious footsteps of Marcel Desailly, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Zinedine Zidane et al. But somehow, other than Benzema, they ended up becoming synonymous with underachievement.

    Ben Arfa went from Lyon to Marseille to Newcastle United to Hull City to Nice to Paris Saint-Germain to Rennes to Real Valladolid, his total of 15 international caps over an eight-year period a modest return for such a gifted player. Menez went on to play for Monaco, Roma, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, but he too has drifted; the last of his 24 senior caps came in 2013, while his last five moves have taken him to Bordeaux, Antalyaspor (alongside Nasri), Club America, Paris FC and now Reggina.

    “They were big, big talents in that generation — not just Samir,” Anigo says. “Those players played for good teams, but, for me, Benzema is the only one who had a really great career. Benzema has had great stability at Lyon and then Real Madrid — only two clubs. The other players, like Samir, they moved around a lot. When you change environment so often, it’s not good for the career.”

    Nasri scaled greater heights than Ben Arfa and Menez over a far longer period in his club career, but he too attracted accusations of underperformance, particularly when it came to the international stage. He won 41 senior caps, but his France career saw more lows than highs.

    Euro 2008: accused of showing a disrespectful attitude towards senior players.

    World Cup 2010: left out of the squad for the finals by Raymond Domenech.

    Euro 2012: a goal and a man of the match performance against England in their opening group game, but then involved in an ugly exchange with a journalist, for which he was banned for three games by the FFF.

    World Cup 2014: left at home again, this time by Didier Deschamps, prompting him to retire from international football at the age of 27. Over subsequent years, his diminishing returns at club level, combined with the emergence of a new generation, gave Deschamps little or no cause for regret.

    Unlike at club level, Nasri struggled to find acceptance in the national team set-up. In turn, he refused to contain his contempt for many of those in authority. The freedom he felt playing for the under-17s in 2004 was replaced by a sense of constraint. He was expected to fall into line, to be quiet, to know his place. He hated that.

    There was a famous or infamous incident in 2008 when Nasri incurred the wrath of William Gallas for sitting in Thierry Henry’s seat on the team bus. A dispute on the training pitch followed, the start of a Nasri-Gallas feud that would persist through the two seasons they played alongside each other at Arsenal. Nasri thought the episode was ridiculous. To others — not just Gallas but Raymond Domenech, the beleaguered France coach — it reflected a lack of respect shown towards the senior players by some of the youngsters in the squad.

    One source from his Arsenal days describes Nasri as someone who had contempt for the very notion of hierarchy. “He does have respect for people — for some people, at least — but he’s someone who, if you tell him that he needs to be respectful towards a certain figure because he’s a senior player or a captain or even the coach, he will tell you to forget it,” the source says. “I think he rails against hierarchy.”

    That was certainly the case with Gallas and with the eccentric Domenech, whom he regarded with disdain. “I was shocked and disappointed by what happened with France in the (2010) World Cup,” Nasri said in 2012. “But I was happy the manager lost his job because if I was the president of the federation, I would have taken him out after 2008. But he stayed and he said things about me that weren’t true because he wanted to trust Gallas and some of the older players. After 2008, people said I was the troublemaker. But then, after the World Cup, when I wasn’t there, they saw that I wasn’t the problem.”

    All too frequently, though, Nasri’s relations with his team-mates and his coaches were problematic, particularly when it came to representing France. He had far more respect for Laurent Blanc than for Domenech or Deschamps, but equally he felt Blanc let him down by not supporting him over his foul-mouthed outburst at a journalist at Euro 2012. It was all, according to someone close to Nasri, “bullshit”.

    At various points, Nasri implied there might be something more sinister behind his exile — and that of Benzema, who has not played for France since 2015, when he was provisionally suspended by the FFF after being arrested in connection with an alleged plot to blackmail his team-mate Matheiu Valbuena. Benzema denied any wrongdoing. Nasri has previously suggested that he and Benzema, who are of Algerian descent, and Ben Arfa, whose father is Tunisian, have faces that do not fit. Benzema said of his omission from the Euro 2016 squad that Deschamps had “bowed to pressure from the racist part of France.” Deschamps, unsurprisingly, was outraged by that suggestion, saying that Benzema had “crossed a line” and that the allegation “hurt a lot.”

    There have been some disconcerting noises out of the FFF over the years — most notably, the 2011 case that saw Francois Blaquart suspended for his role as technical director after he was reported as proposing in a private meeting that the organisation impose quotas to limit the number of players of black or Arab origin in youth academies. Blaquart said that he was “profoundly anti-racist” and that his comments had been taken out of context.

    Whether under Domenech, Blanc or Deschamps, France have always picked multi-ethnic, multi-cultural squads.

    Deschamps’ squad that won the World Cup in Russia two years ago this week included no fewer than 14 players of African origin. And by that stage, Nasri’s absence from the national team had ceased to be a talking point.

    If it is tempting to regard Nasri’s career trajectory as a slow decline from around the time of his second Premier League title success with City, his fruitful spell on loan to Sevilla in 2016-17 certainly bucked that trend.

    “I had a friendly relationship with (Jorge) Sampaoli,” he said earlier this year. “He was more friend than a coach. He liked me so much that he said to me, ‘Come to our team. You can drink, go to nightclubs, do what you want and I’ll cover your back. All I ask is that you play well on the pitch at the weekend’.”

    Nasri did play well. Rather than being confined to the wing, as happened a little too often for his liking in his career, he was encouraged to reinvent himself — not unlike David Silva under Guardiola at City — in a deeper-lying midfield role. He was integral to Sevilla’s possession game. Sampaoli described him as the team’s “oxygen”.

    Things soon began to unravel, though — albeit in the most unexpected way.

    In late December 2016, during La Liga’s winter break, Nasri fell ill while holiday in Los Angeles and was treated by a clinic called Drip Doctors, which describes itself as a “Premier IV Vitamin Therapy and Regenerative Centre focused on providing innovative services that focus on health optimization”. The clinic tweeted a photograph of Nasri, saying it had provided the footballer with “a concierge Immunity IV Drip to keep him hydrated and in top health during his busy soccer season.”

    Shortly afterwards, Nasri himself appeared to tweet, “U also provided me a full sexual service too right after. So guys make sure you get this service”, one of a series of posts containing lurid allegations. Those tweets were hastily deleted and Nasri apologised, claiming “someone hacked my account and tried to spread rumours which is fake.”

    So far, so embarrassing for a high-profile footballer.

    But for Nasri, worse was to follow when it emerged he was being investigated for a possible anti-doping violation. There were strict World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations on the use of intravenous infusions and/or injections, which were restricted to maximum of 50ml per six-hour period.

    “What happened in Los Angeles ruined my season,” Nasri said afterwards, having failed to secure a permanent transfer to Sevilla due to the threat of a doping ban. “It was an injection of vitamins that was legal and I had a prescription, but the clinic injected me with a greater amount than I had expected. I was destroyed, because I thought I was going to be banned for two years. I didn’t want to play any more after that. I was lost, I was anxious and angry with everything. I didn’t show it on the pitch but football was over for me.”

    Nasri had undergone the treatment in his hotel room because he was feeling unwell and dehydrated. In the disciplinary hearing that followed, UEFA stated that he had made a serious mistake, as a professional sportsman, by using “medical personnel unknown to him and without experience in doping matters”. Sevilla applied for him to be retrospectively granted a therapeutic-use exemption, but that request was rejected by UEFA, a decision later upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    In February 2018, 14 months after the incident in Los Angeles, Nasri was banned from football for six months. That was increased to 18 months — but backdated to July 2017 — following an appeal from UEFA’s ethics and disciplinary inspector. By this stage he had left Sevilla, returned (briefly) to City, joined Turkey’s Antalyaspor and left again without making any significant impact. And now a long-term doping ban.

    It would have taken a fairly desperate club to sign Nasri in January 2019. Step forward West Ham, where his old City boss Manuel Pellegrini was now manager.

    Nasri performed well on his debut in an FA Cup third-round tie against Birmingham City and followed that up by making a strong impression as he enjoyed a victory over Arsenal a week later, laying on the only goal of the game for Declan Rice. It was his first Premier League appearance for almost three years and, despite fears of rustiness, he looked at home.

    That was about as good as it got, though, and while some of the younger players enthused about Nasri’s technique on the training pitch, others were glad to see the back of him when he left West Ham at the end of that season.

    From there, it was on to Anderlecht. Vincent Kompany took a considerable leap of faith last summer in recommending that the Brussels club sign his former City team-mate on a one-year contract. That faith was not rewarded. Nasri suffered a hamstring injury in the early stages of the campaign and very quickly the conclusion among the Anderlecht hierarchy was that the deal had been an expensive mistake. He started just five league matches before the season was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    According to reports in Belgium, he infuriated the Anderlecht hierarchy by flying to Dubai during the lockdown and failing to inform the club of his movements. Not true, Nasri insisted. In a live Instagram interview with a journalist from L’Equipe, he said he had been in daily contact with Anderlecht’s doctor and with Kompany. He said he could keep fit on the beach — even if the location of that beach (Marseille? Dubai?) was not entirely clear at the time.

    His departure went unmourned and unannounced, though.

    Since leaving City permanently in the summer of 2017, he has played 719 minutes for Antalyaspor in the Turkish Super Lig, 245 minutes for West Ham in the Premier League and now 447 minutes for Anderlecht in the Jupiler League. That adds up to just 1,411 minutes of league football in three seasons at a time when, injuries notwithstanding, he still had plenty to offer.

    Football is full of stories of unfulfilled talent. They don’t usually revolve around players who have won 41 caps, won the Premier League twice and spent the majority of their career at top-level clubs in France, England and Spain. To borrow that famous line about George Best, where did it all go wrong?

    There is, though, a sense of regret with Nasri — not just with regard to the way his career has drifted in recent years but also his lack of fulfilment on the international stage. “I think he lost something when it came to the national team,” Anigo says. “I remember when I played him against Sochaux when he was 17, everyone was saying, ‘This player is going to have a big, big career for the national team’. He has had a good career and played for very good teams but with such a big talent, it’s natural to want more.

    “He’s a nice guy. A strong character, but a nice guy. But maybe when you start to earn a lot of money, your character changes or your motivation changes. I don’t know if that was the case with Samir. It’s hard to know.”

    Roberto Mancini’s assessment is quite damning.

    “Samir is a player who has incredible qualities but a productivity that bears no comparison with his talent,” the former City manager told France’s So Foot magazine in 2014. “He didn’t understand that you always have to give your best. It pains me. I did everything so that he’d come (to City) and he settled for the minimum.

    “He’s a player who has the ability not to be a good player but to be a world-class player.”

    The suggestion of a player who “settled for the minimum” can be difficult to reconcile. It hints at a contradiction between Nasri’s studious approach to the game and his unwillingness to accept the opinions of others.

    “He’s someone who loves football deeply,” Laurent Blanc told L’Equipe last year. “He likes to play it, he also likes to understand it. I got to know him through this. I once had a disagreement with him about his own game. I wanted him to be much more efficient. Given his qualities, he has not scored enough goals in his career. He rested a little bit on his technical skills. When he is at his best weight and fully focused, he is an exceptional player.”

    French journalist Philippe Auclair calls him a “fantasista”, saying that Nasri’s range of creative and technical attributes, allied to a rare intelligence and understanding of the game and a feisty, combative attitude, appeared to give him the platform to achieve almost anything in his career — not quite to Zinedine Zidane’s level, but towards it. “And Samir knows it,” Auclair says. “He knows he has all of these qualities. I don’t think he has suffered from a surfeit of modesty. The frustrating thing is that a player who is so gifted and so intelligent has not achieved more.”

    Nasri acknowledges that. In fact, he would probably be insulted by the suggestion that his career achievements are reflective of his talent. “Could I have done better? Probably, yes,” he said in a TV interview with Canal+ after joining Antalyaspor. “Actually… most certainly, because at certain times in my career I was not as professional as I could have been. Not on the pitch or in training — I was always professional there — but maybe my lifestyle choices were not as perfect as they could have been. Maybe then, my performances would have allowed me to reach the next level, because I most definitely had the talent.”

    The question is whether, physically and mentally, he has what it takes to get more from his talent now that he is 33 and with three years of stagnation behind him.

    Some of those who have worked with him in the past suggest he would enjoy himself in a less competitive, slower league where he would have the freedom to enjoy himself on and off the pitch. Nasri responds to questions about his future with a shrug of his shoulders. One thing he insists, with a mischievous smile, is that he will one day return to Marseille as their coach. In the meantime, he waits to see what offers will come his way.

    “Football is a hypocrite’s world,” he said in that Canal+ interview three years ago. “But I can look at myself in the mirror. I know that I remained dignified, that I remained myself. Some might say I am arrogant or proud, but I am frank. If you like me, that’s alright. If you don’t like me, that’s alright too. But at least you know what to take from it.”
     
    Gooner416 likes this.
  18. Riou

    Riou Non-Stop Nostalgia

    It's a real shame that Arsène, a man who in 2004 had arguably built the most vocal dressing room in league history...Vieria, Campbell, Lehmann, Henry, Lauren, Keown, Parlour, Cole, Gilberto, Bergkamp...felt those types of characters weren't needed anymore, by summer 2008 we had almost zero leaders in the team anymore...we had some super talented teams at The Emirates, shame we just lacked a few players to hold it together.

    That being said, Nasri just appears a bit of a ****, not in a good way...Samir is more a Robbie Savage type of ****, than a Roy Keane type of ****...like one of those people that says "You either love me or you hate me", which translates into everybody hates me, expect my mother!
     
    Gooner416 and American_Gooner like this.
  19. GoonerJeeves

    GoonerJeeves Up The Terriers

    hydrofluoric acid likes this.
  20. hydrofluoric acid

    hydrofluoric acid Dishonest To His Federation

    So I was listening to a podcast with Guðlaugur Victor Pálsson where he told a story about T. Henry when they were at New York Red bulls.

    He said the mentality of Henry was incredible. Even at the age of 35 after he won everything he was going mad in training. Henry demanded nothing but best from his teammates in the training.

    Guðlaugur said he tried to tell him to **** off or something like that but the next two weeks became a nightmare for him. Henry tried to tackle him up to the knees in the training, criticized his clothes and how he trained. Basically just destroyed him. FFS...

    But in the end Henry invited him to come over and watch a friendly between Iceland and France and it was all nice.
     
    Riou likes this.

Share This Page

Watch Arsenal Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv

Do Not Sell My Personal Information