Nicolas Anelka may be reported to Fifa after missing out on signing for Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro. The French striker, who left West Bromwich Albion last month after receiving a five-match ban for the racially controversial "quenelle" goal celebration, took too long to report to the club.
Atletico Mineiro's director, Eduardo Maluf, said that the player was given until Monday to arrive and sign his contract, but the club had been told by one of Anelka's agents that he would not be able to come to Brazil until the end of the week.
Maluf said it was the third time the player and his agents had given "excuses" for his failure to report to the club. Atletico's president Alexandre Kalil added that the club is considering filing a complaint to Fifa about the player and his agents, saying they broke their agreement with Atletico.
Mineiro had announced the deal to sign Anelka on 6 April. The club said a pre-contract had already been signed and they had been heavily marketing the player's arrival even though it kept being delayed.
Maluf said he was caught by surprise on Tuesday when the agent told him that Anelka was in Kuwait for a religious trip. "He had the obligation to let us know about this in advance," Maluf said. "Atletico is much bigger than this, the deal is off."
Having left West Bromwich – the 35-year-old striker claimed he terminated his contract with the Premier League club, but Albion dispute this version of events – he was supposed to form a striking partnership with the former Brazil star Ronaldinho, who was his team-mate at Paris Saint-Germain in the early 2000s. Brazilian media reported that Ronaldinho had helped convince the Frenchman to join the club.
Atletico Mineiro are the defending champions of the Copa Libertadores, Latin America's equivalent of the Champions League.