The French footballer who 1st did the ‘quenelle’ goal celebration in January publicly defends Nicolas Anelka

And so the issue rolls on…

Montpellier defender Mathieu Deplagne, 22, who was the first footballer to display the ‘quenelle’ goal celebration back in January 2013 (see above), has come out in defence of West Brom striker Nicolas Anelka on Sunday.

Noticeably, after Deplagne pulled the goal celebration in French League Cup at the start of the year, not only was no issue largely ignored but, moreover, his behaviour was splashed on the front page of a newspaper without any significant backlash.

Speaking to BFMTV, Deplagne categorically denied that the ‘quenelle’ goal celebration is racist and/or anti-Semitic, while the defender claimed that a political storm is being whipped up by mischievous people in politics and the media.

Deplagne told BFMTV:

It’s simple, it was a tribute to comedian Dieudonné. I went to see his show and I promised him that I will make a little dedication when I will score a goal. There is no political or anti-Semitic connotation as I could see. This is really a tribute the comedian.

I’d gladly do it again. For me, there really is no racist connotation as I could hear. It is a gesture that has no relation to anti-Semitism. The media and politicians are trying to hurt him and I find this a damaging process.

It is a gimmick. Just that.

In the locker room we often talk about it because many players also like the comedian. We laugh more than anything else, and we laughed after my gesture too. But I had no negative message.

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B101 Writer