Anelka reveals he 'hated it' at Real Madrid and wanted to stay at Liverpool

Nicolas Anelka Real Madrid

Nicolas Anelka has revealed that he “hated” life at Real Madrid and wanted to make a permanent move to Liverpool after his year-long loan at the club.

The former France striker spent a year in the Spanish capital after joining from Arsenal in 1999, but managed just two goals in 19 La Liga appearances and a further two in 10 Champions League matches.

Anelka ended up returning to Paris Saint-Germain but was loaned to Liverpool for the 2001-02 campaign, netting four Premier League goals as the Anfield outfit finished second in the table, and Manchester City snapped him up that summer.

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He admits in a new Netflix documentary that he wanted to stay with the Reds a bit longer, while life at Santiago Bernabeu was unbearable.

"Liverpool fans think I didn't want to stay,” he said.“They need to know that that wasn't the case. That episode was tragic for me. It's a club where I could have done great things."

On his spell in Spain, he added: "I understood what it meant to be a star when I joined Real Madrid, and I hated it.

“After the press conference, I went to the changing room. I got there first, sat down, but players kept coming up to me and saying: ‘That's my spot’. I would say: ‘Oh, sorry. Can I sit here?’ and then another player would come up and say: ‘That's my spot’.

“It happened maybe 20 times. I just thought: ‘What am I doing here? This is going to be hostile’. What I experienced that day was just the beginning of the nightmare.

“There were sacrifices to be made and I was too young to understand. There was so much pressure. I was in the press every day. On the pitch, things weren't great. I couldn't have a private life. I couldn't do anything.

“You're 20, you can't walk down the street. Everything you do gets talked about, everything you buy is in the newspapers the next day.”

Anelka also spent a season at West Bromwich Albion towards the end of his career, but  controversial "quenelle" celebration saw him suspended for five games and fined £80,000.

The 41-year-old says his gesture was a message to former coach Steve Clarke, rather than an anti-Semitic salute.

"I'm back in the team and the first game I play, I score. So I do this celebration," Anelka said. "People don't know it because I never wanted to talk about Steve Clarke, but when I do the quenelle, it's for him. For me, it wasn't anti-Semitic, so I was surprised."