Chelsea captain John Terry wants Nicolas Anelka to stay with the Blues for years.
Anelka, banned by the French Football Federation for 18 international games for his part in France’s World Cup mutiny last summer, scored his seventh goal of the season to earn Chelsea a 2-0 victory over Marseille in the Champions League last night.
Anelka was booed from the kick-off by Marseille’s fans but the striker, who announced his retirement from international football after the ban was handed down, shrugged off the abuse by scoring a 27th-minute penalty to add to Terry’s seventh-minute opener.
Anelka, who joined the club from Bolton for £15 million in January 2008, signed a one-year extension to his contract in the summer to keep him at Stamford Bridge until 2012.
The striker requires just one more goal to reach a half-century for the Blues and that could arrive against former club Arsenal on Sunday.
Terry, prompted by the striker’s success, urged Anelka to remain at Stamford Bridge for as long as possible.
“Nico has stressed before how much he loves the club,” said Terry. “The fans love him, the players love him. We would love him to stay here for years to come.
“He is a great character to have around the place. He is a nice guy and a really good professional, someone who myself and the young players look up to and learn from.
“He has found a nice home here at Chelsea. He has come out and said how much he has settled here. We have a good base of French players here as well, so that helps people settle in. People like Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda are key to keeping people happy and so it works well.”
France international and Chelsea team-mate Florent Malouda was proud of the way Anelka dealt with the pressure of the occasion, especially with the game shown live on television back home.
“There was a lot of pressure on him because, as everyone knows, a lot of people in France were watching the game so he had many reasons to want to score,” said Malouda.
“Everyone at the club knows his quality so I’m glad he had the chance to show that quality. I’m happy for him.”
Chelsea remain top of Group F by virtue of goal difference over their next opponents Spartak Moscow.
The victory ended a run of two successive defeats and now all eyes are focused on the visit of Arsenal on Sunday.
The defeat at Manchester City last Saturday was their first in the league this season, but Terry insists their was no inquest after the game.
“There was no inquest after we lost. It was one of those things,” added Terry. “We have watched City this season and they have not looked that great but then they raised their game against us. It was probably their best game of the season.
“They’re going to get encouragement from beating the in-form side in the league. But nowadays you’re not going to go the whole season without suffering a defeat and it’s about how you respond.
“We have another big game on Sunday and we’re fortunate the games come thick and fast now and we can get on with it. It’s good to get back to winning ways against Marseille and hopefully that continues.”
Chelsea are unlikely to have Frank Lampard back in time to face the Gunners but striker Didier Drogba, who was suspended for the game against former club Marseille, is certain to play.
“It was important for us to win against Marseille for the confidence,” said Drogba.
“Arsenal is a big team, they’ve been playing well at the beginning of the season but we’re at home and have to do everything to win.”