Anelka leaves West Brom after receiving ban over gesture

The 35-year-old striker joined West Brom at the beginning of the 2013-14 season.  

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Nicolas Anelka has announced on his Twitter account that he is to leave West Brom with immediate effect.

Anelka was recently given a five-match suspension by the Football Association for his controversial quenelle gesture. On Friday afternoon, the Frenchman announced that he was told he could return to the West Brom ‘group’ only under certain conditions which he could not accept, and he has therefore released himself from his contract.

Anelka sent three tweets, in French. One said that he has to leave The Hawthorns because he wishes to "protect" his "integrity."

The 35-year-old added: "I have taken the decision to free myself and put an end to the contract linking me with West Bromwich Albion."

Anelka claims he made the gesture in support of his friend Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, a French comedian who has been convicted seven times of anti-Semitic crimes.

Following the incident, Anelka started all four of Albion’s Premier League games in January. But he has not featured since and is banned for the upcoming trips to Swansea, Hull and Norwich as well as home games against Cardiff and Tottenham.

Over the course of three posts written in French on his official Twitter account, Anelka wrote: "Following talks between the club and me, propositions were made to me in order to reintegrate me into the squad under certain conditions that I cannot accept.

"Wishing to retain my integrity, I have therefore taken the decision to free myself and put an end to the contract linking me with West Bromwich Albion to 2014, with immediate effect."