Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 23 September 2020

Dubai acts as backdrop for new documentary on footballer Nicolas Anelka

The former Arsenal striker lives in the emirate with his wife and three children

The opening scenes of Netflix's 'Anelka: Misunderstood' show the French footballer walking through the Dubai desert. Netflix
The opening scenes of Netflix's 'Anelka: Misunderstood' show the French footballer walking through the Dubai desert. Netflix

Dubai is the backdrop for Netflix’s new documentary on retired French footballer Nicolas Anelka.

The former Arsenal striker, who now lives in Dubai with his family, is the subject of Anelka: Misunderstood, which came out on the streaming service last week.

The documentary explores the ups and downs of Anelka’s career, during which he played for Paris-Saint Germain, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City.

He is one of football’s most nomadic players of the past 20 years, but his career was marred by problems away from the pitch, including a controversial half-time row with France manager Raymond Domenech, following which he was sent home from the 2010 World Cup.

The Frenchman now lives in Dubai with his wife and three children, and much of the 94-minute Netflix documentary is filmed in the city.

The opening sequence shows wide shots of a lone Anelka walking through the Dubai desert, while many scenes show him going about everyday family life with his children in his apartment, as well as shots of him out and about in the city, including an evening playing football close to a mosque at Kite Beach.

As well as his career, Anelka talks of his childhood, faith, and how becoming a father changed his life. The documentary also features interviews with fellow football legends Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba and Arsene Wenger.

In other scenes, Anelka can be seen playing football with children close to Dubai's Kite Beach. Netflix 
In other scenes, Anelka can be seen playing football with children close to Dubai's Kite Beach. Netflix

In other scenes, he can be seen strolling with his family along the Palm and boxing with his personal trainer, as well as running through the desert at Al Qudra cycle track.

The Frenchman has lived in Dubai for several years and often interacts with his fans in the UAE. In the past, he has joined up with Dubai Sports Council to send well wishes via video message during Ramadan, and most recently sent a video message via DSC urging everyone in the emirate to stay safe and stay at home during the Covid-19 crisis.

Anelka: Misunderstood is available to stream on Netflix UAE now

Updated: August 9, 2020 05:41 PM

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