MUMBAI (Reuters) - Nicolas Anelka has become the latest high-profile name to sign up for the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) after the Mumbai franchise announced the signing of the former French striker on Monday.
The 35-year-old, who has played for a host of English Premier League clubs including Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool, will join compatriots David Trezeguet and Robert Pires in the league, that will run from Oct. 12 to Dec. 20.
“I am pleased to join Mumbai City FC and through it participate in the exciting Indian Super League,” the well-travelled Frenchman, who has also played for Paris St Germain, Real Madrid and Juventus, said in a statement.
“Talented international players and top Indian talent will make matches thrilling affairs.
“I look forward to using my ability to do well for my team in the matches we play.”
Former England midfielder Peter Reid will manage the Mumbai franchise, co-owned by Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor, and they have also signed former Germany centre back Manuel Friedrich.
“We are delighted to announce the signing of Nicolas Anelka and thrilled that a player with a stunning pedigree such as his is part of our team,” Kapoor added.
“His abilities and experience are known the world over and I am certain his presence will give us the firepower required upfront. We welcome him to the Mumbai City FC squad.”
Anelka got his first taste of Asian football when he joined big-spending Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua in 2012.
He landed in trouble for making a ‘quenelle’ salute, which is associated with anti-Semitism, when he scored for West Bromwich Albion in a 3-3 draw at West Ham United last December.
Anelka denied he was anti-Semitic but was banned for five matches by the Premier League and later sacked by West Brom for what they described as gross misconduct.
The prolific forward was also suspended for 18 games for insulting then France coach Raymond Domenech at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Ed Osmond