London, England – French striker Nicolas Anelka will miss West Bromwich Albion's game against Everton this weekend after being granted compassionate leave, the Premier League club announced on Thursday.
“West Bromwich Albion can confirm that Nicolas Anelka will not be involved in Saturday's game at Everton,” read a statement on the club website, www.wba.co.uk.
“The club have excused the striker from club duty on compassionate grounds.”
British television channel Sky Sports News reported that Anelka had walked out of training and told club staff that he intended to retire, but his agent denied those reports.
“No, Nicolas has not ended his career,” Doug Pingisi, who manages Anelka's affairs, told AFP.
Local newspaper reports suggested Anelka had suffered a bereavement, which Pingisi confirmed was true.
Anelka, 34, only joined West Brom in July, after an unsuccessful spell at Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.
He spent the second half of last season on loan at Juventus, who won the Italian title.
Anelka has had something of a nomadic career, having appeared for 11 different clubs – including Arsenal, Real Madrid and Chelsea – since making his breakthrough with Paris Saint-Germain in 1996.
He made 69 appearances for France but has not played for his country since clashing with national coach Raymond Domenech at half-time of a game against Mexico at the 2010 World Cup, for which he was given an 18-game ban.– Sapa-AFP