The chance of seeing Ronaldinho and Nicolas Anelka playing together for Atletico Mineiro may have fallen by the wayside after the French striker failed to show up in Brazil after instead going to an Islamic conference in Kuwait.
Anelka, 35, was sacked by West Bromwich Albion last month after being found guilty of gross misconduct after the veteran French forward announced he was quitting the Baggies on Twitter.
That outburst came after Anelka had been slapped with a five match ban and an £80,000 fine for the forward’s quenelle goal celebration against West Ham back in December.
Then, ten days ago, news broke via the Twitter account of Alexandre Kalil, the president of Atletico Mineiro, that the disgraced quenelle-celebrating Anelka has reportedly now signed for the reigning Copa Libertadores champions.
That deal, though, may have collapsed overnight as Anelka was pictured at a Kuwait religious event. The former Arsenal, Chelsea and Real Madrid forward had been expected to show up at his new club.
The Brazilians have now sent out mixed messages on whether the deal will transpire.
Atletico director Eduardo Maluf said “He had the obligation to let us know about this in advance. Atletico is much bigger than this, the deal is off.”
By contrast, president Kalil told reporters “I’m dealing with it right now and between now and tomorrow lunchtime I’ll have it fixed.”
Potentially embarrassingly, Atletico Mineiro have already begun selling “Anelka 30” shorts in their club store.
See pictures of Nicolas Anelka at the Islamic conference in Kuwait below.