Samir Nasri. A man capable of wonderful feats on a football pitch, yet one who generally contrives to be about as popular as haemorrhoids. Even – or, perhaps, especially – among supporters of the clubs for whom he played.
There aren’t too many football fans, in the UK and Ireland at least, who harbour a great deal of affection for the Frenchman. Which is a pity, given his sublime gifts with the ball at his feet, but also completely understandable.
Nasri has been mostly out of sight and out of mind for the past year or so (more of which anon), but we might soon be seeing him back on a Premier League pitch, this time in the claret-and-blue of West Ham United.
You have to presume the Hammers board know what they’re letting themselves in for by signing him up, but in case they needed a reminder, here are five of the Frenchman’s finest moments.
Getting smashed by Seb Bassong, yet ending up sent off himself
It’s quite an accomplishment to be the victim of a horrific scything challenge and somehow managing to be the one to receive a red card.
And what an interesting reaction from Nasri. At first, he appears to be totally stunned at having been catapulted head over heels into the Norfolk sky, and lies on the turf like a sack of spuds that’s just fallen off a truck. Then comes a very brief moment of ‘oh my god I might die send that dirty git off’ rolling about, followed quickly by a classic Nasri-rage.
Nasri gets angry in the way a teenager might after having just lost a close game of FIFA. His tantrums are very much controller-at-the-wall lapses into petulance – there’s no real malice there, just instinctive woe-is-me frustration.
And so, on that night in 2012, when he realised, having sprung miraculously to his feet with fire in his eyes, he was faced with the rather imposing figure of 6’2” Seb Bassong, he elected to rather meekly nudge his forehead into the chin of his foe. For which, of course, Nasri was sent off.
Bassong received a yellow card for the tackle. Got the ball ref.
Challenging a journalist to a fight after France exited Euro 2012
France were eliminated by eventual champions Spain at Euro 2012.
After the match, Nasri strode through the mixed zone and refused to answer any questions before boarding the team bus in a huff. Turns out, though, he’d forgotten something in the dressing room and went back to get it. Which was a bad idea.
Pressed by French journalists, Nasri lost his head – how out of character for him – and launched into an outburst. “An extraordinary flurry of insults laden with four-letter words kicked off his rant,” reported Goal.com, “in which he claimed the press always wrote ‘crap stories’ about his team.
“Then the former Arsenal man shouted: ‘Now you can say that I’ve been badly brought up! Come over there and let’s fix this.’”
His girlfriend calling Didier Deschamps a ‘sh*t manager’
Nasri didn’t make France’s 2014 World Cup squad. He’d been pretty decent in the 2013-14 season for Manchester City, but Didier Deschamps elected not to bring him to Brazil with the French team.
A few months later, Nasri retired from international duty aged 27, bemoaning his relationship with the manager, but not before his girlfriend Amara Atanes had given her thoughts on the omission.
“F*ck france and f*ck deschamps! What a sh*t manager!” ranted Atanes on Twitter, before adding: “Incase u didnt read my tweet properly…. Ill repeat myself….. f*ck FRANCE!!!!! And f*ck Deschamps!” (Asterix added at Paddy Power’s discretion).
A few weeks later, Deschamps filed a lawsuit against Atanes.
Getting on the wrong side of Emmanuel Frimpong
Earlier this year, Emmanuel Frimpong told the story of how, as a callow 20-year-old at Wenger’s Arsenal, he was blamed by Nasri for a 2-0 defeat at Liverpool.
“[Wenger] was actually very calm, but for some reason, Nasri came in and he was like: ‘We lost the game because of you.’ I was a young guy, didn’t really know what I was doing, and was devastated. I felt like I’d let everybody down and he was really blaming me, so I really didn’t like him.
“He always had a go at me if I gave the ball away in training and even said to me once: ‘I could buy you if I want.’
“The reason I don’t like him is because he’s an idiot.”
Frimpong later confronted Nasri on the pitch after the Frenchman moved to Man City, apparently offering him out for a bit of a scrap. Unsurprisingly, Nasri wasn’t tempted.
Availing of the Drip Doctors’ ‘services’
Ah, yes. What a time to be alive this was.
Let's be honest, nothing will ever beat Samir Nasri's ex girlfriend accessing his Twitter and telling the world about his visits to the Drip Doctors.
The greatest night in Football Twitter history.
— 1886 (@1886_blog) October 30, 2018
It’s an episode that has entered into the realm of legend on Twitter.
On December 27 2016, Drip Doctors, a private medical clinic, posted an image of Dr Jamila Sozahdah, one of the company’s founders, alongside Nasri in his hotel suite in LA.
“We provided @SamNasri19 a concierge Immunity IV Drip to keep him hydrated & in top health during his busy soccer season with @SevillaFC,” was the accompanying text.
Okay, seems legit.
Except, well, nothing’s ever straightforward when it comes to SamNasri19.
Shortly afterwards, his official account tweeted: “U also provided me a full sexual service too right after. So guys make sure you get this service. This w***e comes and f*cks the same night.”
Well now, what’s this all about then?
Remember Amara Atanes, Nasri’s Deschamps-hating girlfriend? Turns out she’s only gone and logged into Nasri’s Twitter and started accusing Drip Doctors of providing services that ‘don’t come on their menu.’
The exchange dragged on, with Nasri frantically tweeting apologies and explanations while Atanes SIMULTANEOUSLY posted more and more ‘insights’ into what she believed Sozahdah and Nasri were getting up to. We suggest you Google these tweets, as most have been since deleted.
Eventually, things calmed down, with Nasri finally clarifying that:
My account got hacked sorry about what happen earlier
— Samir Nasri Official (@SamNasri19) December 28, 2016
Amazingly, there was another twist in this tale. In 2018, Nasri was banned from football as a direct result of receiving that drip, which exceeded WADA’s limit for a six-hour period.
If he joins West Ham, he’ll have to wait until January to play, as he’s still serving that suspension. What a man.