Nicolas Anelka found some real form during his time at Bolton Wanderers and scored 23 times for the club during a season and-a-half following a return to the Premier League from Fenerbahce.
The France international had already spent time in the English top flight with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City earlier in his career but his dazzling form earned him a move to Chelsea.
During four years with the Blues he would enjoy his fair share of silverware, winning the Premier League in 2009/10 and the FA Cup in two consecutive seasons. Anelka agreed to answer your questions sent in via social media in the last week or so. Check out his answers below:
What was your favourite goal for Bolton?
NA: I will say my first against Arsenal because it was my first goal for the club and also because it was a great goal.
I always got the impression that you were more relaxed and happy playing for Bolton, is that true?
NA: Bolton was a family club with less pressure so of course I was more relaxed. Especially when you compare being at Bolton to being at Chelsea. In life you need to choose and I always wanted to go back to playing for a big club so when Chelsea wanted me I couldn’t say no because I’m a competitor!
Do you still believe you played your best football for Bolton?
NA: Yes. I think at Bolton I did play some of my best football. I found it difficult when I first started but as soon as I understood the way Big Sam wanted to play, I loved it. I think my team mates, Big Sam and of course the fans had a big contribution in my success at Bolton because when I was having a hard time when I first signed they were always behind me showing me support and I’ll never forget that.
What was the inspiration behind your butterfly celebration?
NA: Nothing special. I wanted to do something to celebrate my goals, something that people could recognise and that when they saw me doing it, it’s because I had scored.
After playing for clubs like Arsenal, Real Madrid and PSG, what made you want to come to Bolton?
NA: Big Sam was very important in my decision. I like the old school mentality, so with Big Sam I knew I would find exactly what I wanted to find. He wanted me and I could feel that he trusted me and that was a very important factor for me.
Who was your best mate at Bolton?
NA: Everyone! I loved this dressing room! There were so many different nationalities but we were all friends and ready to fight for each other. Of course I had a better understanding with Dioufy and both Abdoulaye Faye and Abdoulaye Meite because we could speak French together.
Who is the best manager you played under during your career?
NA: For me, I take into consideration football, attitude, my understanding with the coach, mentality and how he used me on the field and because of this there is only two names: Big Sam and Arsene Wenger! They knew how to use my qualities to get the best out of me.
Who was the funniest player in the squad when you was at Bolton?
NA: Dioufy, Abdoulaye Meite and Nicky Hunt.
Favourite memory of playing for Bolton?
NA: I enjoyed every single home game! It was a real pleasure to play in this stadium in front of the Bolton fans and I really mean it.
Who is the best player you’ve played with in your career?
NA: Only one player I can say as an answer to this question. Ronaldo – El Phenomeno.
How do you rate your goal for Bolton against Manchester United in comparison to others you have scored in your career?
NA: It was a typical Bolton goal. That’s Big Sam’s style and I love it. That’s what we used to do in training and it works so well.
Why did you always have the number 39 on your shirt?
NA: I had to choose a number when I signed for Manchester City. Only three numbers were available and 39 was one of them, so I took it and always wanted to keep it after this.
How does Kevin Davies rank as a centre forward partner?
NA: Kevin was doing the dirty job for me! He was very important for the club, the team and of course me because I knew he would create space for me.
I enjoyed playing alongside him, he was a very good finisher and our relationship on the pitch was excellent. It was very easy to play with him because he is not a selfish player and we all knew he would fight and give everything for the team.
Who was the toughest defender you ever came up against?
NA: I think Martin Keown was the toughest. He was fast, strong and dirty. I liked playing against him in training because I knew it was just like a game situation. He helped me a lot to adapt to English football, along with Tony Adams and Steve Bould. Of course it was war every time I played against him when I was facing Arsenal.
You’ve played at some huge clubs, but was the training and match preparation under Sam Allardyce up there with the best?
NA: For me, we had the best game preparation at Bolton and Chelsea based on recovery before and after the game. We had lots of massages, ice baths and hot baths and I could feel the difference. We were ready to fight!
Big Sam’s training sessions were very light but intense. He made sure we had fresh legs for the games and that we were ready to give everything and mostly be ready to fight because every game was a war.
Is it true you signed a new contract with Bolton even though your intentions were to move on, just so that the club could get a bigger fee?
NA: For myself and Bolton, it was a challenge. I needed to get back to my best and they needed a striker to score goals! I did everything I could to make sure Bolton were the winners in the transfer transaction. The club trusted me and gave me the opportunity to come back to the Premier League, so at least I could help to make sure they got the best deal for me when I was moving to Chelsea.
What convinced you to join Bolton, and what were your first impressions of the club?
NA: My first impression of the club was that it was a stable club with a big manager. A small family club with some big names in the squad, and everything that was needed to be able to work in the right conditions.
How did you find working with Sam Allardyce?
NA: I loved it. I loved everything about him! The game preparation, the games, the football style, his coaching, and the relationship he had with the players, his way to think about modern football using recovery more than anything else.
Which month of the season is it acceptable to start wearing gloves?
NA: It depends when players feel like it really, there is already too many restrictions in modern football. I hope they don’t think about making rules about when you can and can’t wear gloves because soon players won’t be able to do anything. That’s why I love old school football, before we could do almost whatever we wanted to and it didn’t shock anyone.
How difficult was it to combine your faith with your career? How did you cope with things like fasting?
NA: It was very easy, I never said anything to anyone. It was my private life so nobody could notice it. Training is in the morning, then you fast and you go home. The game day is when you have a choice to fast or not.
If you want to fast, you better be good on the pitch so that nobody will say anything – it’s that simple. If your performances are bad, don’t even try to make excuses about your fasting because you made the choice to fast. That’s my way to do it and my way of thinking but we are all different.
Who would you prefer to receive a cross from? Dioufy or Stelios?
NA: Both, because both are very good players and I enjoyed playing with both of them. They were two good team mates on and off the field.