France striker Nicolas Anelka’s international career appears to be over after he received
a billion-match an 18-match ban from the French Football Federation. The 31-year-old was disciplined for his row with the coach Raymond Domenech which saw France’s World Cup descend into farce and industrial action.
Captain Patrice Evra has been banned for five matches for his part in the revolt, while Franck Ribery has been suspended for three games and Jeremy Toulalan for one. The other player cited, Eric Abidal, has escaped without a ban.
Anelka did not attend the hearing and is yet to respond to his ban, although we cannot believe he would turn down this prime opportunity for some public sulking (probably incorporating a message that he had already taken the decision to retire from international football).