France international striker Nicolas Anelka will miss West Bromwich Albion’s game against Everton today after being granted compassionate leave, the English Premier League club announced on Thursday.
Anelka said he had been left devastated by the news that one of his agents, Eric Manasse, had passed away.
“It is with profound sadness that I have learned of the death of Eric Manasse,” the player wrote on his Facebook page.
“Shocked by this news that has affected his friends and family, Eric will leave a huge hole in our lives. I cannot find the words to express my immense sadness and I send my condolences to the Manasse family after his tragic death,” he wrote.
West Brom confirmed that Anelka will not feature at the weekend.
“West Bromwich Albion can confirm that Nicolas Anelka will not be involved in Saturday’s game at Everton,” a statement on the club’s Web site said. “The club have excused the striker from club duty on compassionate grounds.”
British TV channel Sky Sports News reported that Anelka had walked out of training and told club staff that he intended to retire, but his representative denied those reports.
“No, Nicolas has not ended his career,” said Doug Pingisi, who manages Anelka’s affairs.
Local newspaper reports suggested Anelka had suffered a bereavement, which Pingisi confirmed was true.
Anelka, 34, only joined West Brom last month after an unsuccessful spell at Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.
He spent the second half of last season on loan at Juventus, who won the Serie A 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 halftime of a match against Mexico at the 2010 World Cup, for which he was given an 18-game ban.