Premier League - Anelka: 'If doing a quenelle is anti-Semitic, all Muslims are terrorists'

Nicolas Anelka has launched an extraordinary defence of himself in an interview with French newspaper Metro News.

Eurosport
Premier League - Anelka: 'If doing a quenelle is anti-Semitic, all Muslims are terrorists'
.

View photo

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28: Nicolas Anelka of West Brom touches his sleeve as he celebrates scoring their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and West Bromwich Albion at Boleyn Ground on December 28, 2013 in Lond

The French striker quit West Brom last month amid reports that he had been fired for gross misconduct following his lengthy ban for the infamous 'quenelle' goal celebration.

But in the interview (which you can read here in French) he painted himself as the victim of misunderstanding, telling the paper that if performing a quenelle makes you anti-Semitic then, "all priests are paedophiles and all Muslims are terrorists."

"My quenelle was very misunderstood," he said, insisting that there was no evidence that he is anti-Semitic.

"I have no record of racism or anti-Semitism, there is no evidence to support it, not even a shred of evidence…

"I have never had a problem with the Jewish community, and besides why would I have? There are so many questions and no answers.

"At some point we must stop being paranoid and believing that we are all at war.

"The people who wrote the headlines do not know my life."

Anelka added that he believes the fact that controversial comedian Diedonne M'Bala says the gesture is not anti-Semitic should make it impossible for others to claim to the contrary:

"Because some people have performed [the quenelle] in front of a synagogue, then the gesture is suddenly meant to be racist and anti-Semitic in any place and in any situation?

"Sorry, I'm not swallowing that. I've tried to swallow it but it won't go down.

"So if I understand correctly, all priests are paedophiles and all Muslims are terrorists? For me, it's the same principle.

"If this continues, the people who decide that the quenelle is racist will soon ban us from eating pineapples!...

"It is a vulgar gesture, I grant you. There was never any religious intent on my part… I am neither racist nor anti-Semitic and this quenelle was a simple dedication."

View comments (392)
Write for Yahoo Sport