French soccer star Nicolas Anelka has officially announced his retirement from international competition. But, even though he is walking out the door of his own volition, he was given a bit of a nudge. Last month, the French Football Federation handed Anelka an 18-match international suspension. This was the result of Anelkaâ€™s very public spat with tempestuous French national football coach Raymond Domenech during halftime of Franceâ€™s World Cup match with Mexico in June. That argument prompted the entire French team to boycott one day of practice in the middle of the World Cup, thereby exacerbating the situation. Other players received smaller penalties, including 5 matches for Franck Ribery. But Anelka was singled out due to him being at the center of the conflict. Anelka continues to report that the details of his argument with Domenech were erroneously reported, and exaggerated. But rather than continue to butt heads with the French higher-ups, Anelka has chosen to walk away quietly, and gracefully.
Anelka continues to play at a high level for his professional team, English Premier League champions Chelsea. He recently received a new contract extension to remain at the London club. And his Chelsea manager, Carlo Ancelotti, has nothing but words of praise for his Muslim striker. So, Anelka continues to play football, but only for Chelsea. And he is still doing it the only way he knows how: gracefully.