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After Nicolas Anelka stirred up controversy with his goal celebration, his fellow Frenchman defends himself after being pictured making the salute two months previously

Manchester City midfielder Samir Nasri has defended himself against accusations of anti-Semitism after posing for a picture performing the 'quenelle' salute.

On Saturday, West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka used the gesture to celebrate a goal against West Ham and provoked controversy for its allegedly abusive connotations.

The veteran forward argues that the action was a harmless declaration of support for his comedian friend, Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, though he has pledged not to repeat the celebration, and Nasri declared his belief that its only associations are with anti-Establishment sentiment.

"The pose in the picture I posted over two months ago symbolises being against the system," he wrote on Twitter.

"It has absolutely nothing to do with being anti-Semitic or against Jewish people.

"I apologise for causing any hurt to anyone who might have been misled into thinking this means anything of that nature."

The Football Association is in the middle of an investigation into Anelka’s celebration and could hit the Baggies star with a suspension of up to five games.