Anelka rails against racism in France08 December 2010

“In difficult moments, we see what people really think”

But while tomorrow's game in the Stade Velodrome is dead, with Chelsea qualified as winners and Marseille also through, Anelka suggested there was more to the treatment of members of Raymond Domenech's squad than met the eye.

The French camp was riven with internal rows and rucks and Anelka said: “In the World Cup we saw the true face of France.

“In difficult moments, we see what people really think. They said 'Franck Ribery hit Yoann Gourcuff; Gourcuff is a good French boy, Ribery is a Muslim.

“It went too far. When the France team does not win, them immediately people start to talk about religion and race.

“It started for me when I was the first player to come from the banlieues, the suburbs of the cities. Because I had a Ferrari, that did people's head in. When I was at Madrid, I was 20, I had the money, I bought a Ferrari. And people criticized me.

“People in France have a false picture of me but I have never had any problems in other countries. Everything I have achieved has been abroad.

“I am not 'made in France' – that is the place where I have had nothing but trouble.

“That is why I never wanted to sing the Marseillaise, the national anthem, when I played for France. Had they insisted that I did, I would have refused and quit the team.”

Anelka, who has scored five Champions League goals but only two in the Premier League this season, added: “Despite everything that may have been said to the contrary, I really got off on playing for a team like Bolton.

“I had the time of my life with them. The mind-set was different. At a small club like that you are part of a family, and there is much less pressure.

“Now I am at Chelsea, who are a great club, but the moment we lose two matches everyone says the manager is going to leave. The bigger the club, the more hassles you have.”