Samir Nasri’s remarkable rap sheet: Going AWOL from Anderlecht adds to crazy list with a drugs ban for visiting ‘Drip Doctors’, his ugly exit from Arsenal… and even a bust-up with Thierry Henry!
- Samir Nasri is to be let go by Anderlecht after reportedly going AWOL this week
- The 32-year-old has had a career full of highs and lows, particularly in England
- Arsene Wenger brought him to Arsenal after watching him star for France U17s
- He later pushed through a move to Manchester City and won two league titles
- But Nasri’s attitude has been criticised and he received an 18-month doping ban
Samir Nasri was first hailed as ‘the new Zinedine Zidane’ in 2004 after winning the Under-17 European Championship with France, scoring the winner in the final against Spain.
Now 32 years old, what words come to mind when considering the midfielder’s career?
‘Drip Doctors,’ would most definitely make the list. ‘Waste of money,’ a few West Ham fans might say. ‘Two-time Premier League winner,’ Manchester City supporters will remind us.
Samir Nasri (right) caught the eye of Arsene Wenger while playing for France U17s in 2004
The 32-year-old Frenchman now appears to be let go by Anderlecht after going AWOL
Now, those in Anderlecht might like to add ‘AWOL’, judging by the headlines in Belgium.
Belgian outlet Derniere Heure say Nasri is to be let go after apparently flying himself to Dubai and refusing to contact his club – managed by Vincent Kompany – on his whereabouts.
You wonder whether Arsene Wenger, in his new book out this October, will mention Nasri. It was at that U17 tournament in 2004 where he spotted the young Frenchman.
Marseille knew their starlet was wanted and so handed Nasri a contract extension to extract as much money as possible out of potential suitors. Arsenal paid £12million in 2008.
Wenger saw a player with bags of talent. All he had to do was bring that out of him. In 2010-11, that happened, with Nasri scoring 15 goals.
But convincing him to be consistent was not always easy. Indeed Roberto Mancini, the former manager of Manchester City, once said he would like to ‘give him a punch’.
Nasri, pictured in 2011, proved a hit at Arsenal after joining the club from Marseille for £12m
Things turned sour at the Emirates, however, and Nasri pushed through a move away in 2011
Clubs: Marseille, Arsenal, Manchester City, Sevilla (loan), Antalyaspor, West Ham, Anderlecht
Total appearances: 519
Total goals: 73
International caps: 41
International goals: 5
Honours: Premier League (2011-12, 2013-14), League Cup (2013-14), Under-17 European Championship (2004)
His debut for City in 2011, after controversially quitting Arsenal in a £24m move, was away at White Hart Lane. Amid the abuse directed at him by Tottenham supporters, he secured three assists.
At City he won two titles in six years – one under Mancini, the other under Manuel Pellegrini. But his effort, especially in training, forever seemed to come under the spotlight.
There was also the time he hid behind the wall when Robin van Persie put away his winning free-kick in the Manchester derby. That saw him heavily criticised, even branded ‘shameful’.
Nasri (far left) once all but hid from defending a free-kick during the Manchester derby
His token effort of dangling a leg did not stop Robin van Persie (right) scoring the winning goal
And Nasri does not like to be criticised. He even became embroiled in a row with a French journalist after a Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat by Spain, supposedly calling him a ‘son of a b****’.
He quit international football in 2014, at the age of 27, after he was left out of the squad for the World Cup in Brazil. It followed a breakdown in his relationship with Didier Deschamps.
Manchester City paid £24m to sign him but questions over his attitude and effort remained
The Frenchman celebrates with the Premier League trophy after helping City to glory
Long before that, he was accused of disrespect after sitting in Thierry Henry’s seat on the France team bus, and did not see eye to eye with William Gallas.
Nasri is certainly sure of himself and, to his credit, he is technically gifted. YouTube compilations of his best bits are breathtaking. Those cultured feet of his could be mesmerising on their day.
But there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and he often fell into the wrong bracket.
In 2016, for example, he said Pep Guardiola would be ‘lucky’ to have him in his squad. Three months later, Guardiola said Nasri was overweight and he was sent on loan to Sevilla.
His lowest moment came during his spell in Spain. No, not that red card in the Champions League against Leicester, which saw him later brand Jamie Vardy a ‘cheat’.
Rather it was that doping case, involving the intravenous drip treatment he was said to have received from a Los Angeles clinic.
He received 500 millilitres of hydration in the form of sterile water containing micronutrient components on December 26, 2016, while on holiday.
The private medical company, Drip Doctors, posted a picture of Nasri after his session, posing with the organisation’s glamorous co-founder Jamila Sozahdah that drew inevitable publicity.
But the treatment contravened World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules and an 18-month ban followed.
Nasri was sent off for Sevilla after headbutting Jamie Vardy during a Champions League tie
The midfielder was given an 18-month ban from WADA after visiting Drip Doctors in LA
His City career was at an end, and a short spell in Turkey with Antalyaspor followed after Sevilla.
What next? He was a free agent but his reputation was in tatters. He wanted to prove a point, and where better to do that than in the most-watched division in the world?
Pellegrini handed him a lifeline – a costly one, for West Ham.
On the day he completed his doping ban, on December 31 2018, Nasri was pictured smiling and holding up a claret shirt. ‘I’m really excited,’ he explained, crossing his forearms in the now obligatory way for any new West Ham signing.
The contract was only until the end of the season, with the option of an extra year. After six appearances in all competitions, it was never going to be triggered.
So off to Anderlecht he went – another lifeline from an old colleague, this time his captain Kompany.
Eight games later, his club are apparently ready to let his contract expire for abandoning them during the coronavirus lockdown. It is merely the latest episode in a quite remarkable series from a remarkable footballer.
Nasri got another chance in the Premier League with West Ham but left after just eight games
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