Ex-Arsenal rebel Samir Nasri’s amazing life story, from ‘close to dying’ with meningitis to Drip Doctor scandal and ban – The Sun
ONE day, Samir Nasri might just sit down and wonder if he fulfilled his career to the best of his ability.
The former Premier League star has announced his retirement from the game at the age of 34.
He had most recently been playing with Vincent Kompany's Anderlecht side in Belgium, before making the decision to hang up his boots.
However, he left the side when the coronavirus pandemic halted football in 2020 and has been without a side since.
Blessed with a talent that saw him compared to Zinedine Zidane, he once had legendary ex-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger purring over their similarities.
"The flexibility of his hips is similar to Zidane, but Zidane was a different player. Zidane was more a guy who creates openings through his skill, Nasri is more direct," Le Professeur once said.
Nasri came to the Premier League from Marseille in 2008 aged just 21 in a £12million deal, and two years later he outshone Cesc Fabregas during the 2010-11 season.
But it was a move that might not have happened after he was nearly killed by a bout of meningitis while playing in France.
Then came an acrimonious divorce from the Gunners, whose fans labelled him a mercenary for moving to Manchester City for £24million.
In between, there was an epic fallout with France team-mate William Gallas, who accused Nasri of disrespecting Thierry Henry.
Later, he was banned for 18 months for breaching doping rules in the Drip Doctor scandal that shocked football.
A spell at West Ham failed to bring the best out of Nasri, before he was reunited with former team mate Kompany.
It was career that, perhaps, offered much more than he delivered.
After blossoming from French wonderkid into a permanent fixture in a Marseille side brimming with talent, Nasri came down with meningitis in his final season at the club.
It's a moment that he revealed nearly cost his life, and he revealed he felt abandoned by those he thought were close to him.
"During my last year at Marseille, I was in the hospital for 12 days with meningitis, and I saw the actual side of people," he told Canal+via Get Football French News.
"I saw those who were there for me when everything was going well, when I was Marseille's little prince, when I had played the season where I became an international.
"People were behind me then, but when I was sick for 12 days, with meningitis about to die, no one was there. I noticed how things really were."
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
In a life that's been littered with misdemeanours, Nasri's biggest crime saw him receive an 18-month ban for breaching WADA's anti-doping rules.
Five years ago Nasri visited Drip Doctors medical centre and its co-founder Jamila Sozahdah, while on holiday in LA – sharing an image of the pair together on social media.
There, he received an intravenous drip of 500 millilitres of water containing nutrients.
In 2018, he was banned for six months by Uefa, which was extended to 18-months after an appeal by a Uefa ethics and disciplinary inspector.
Nasri revealed how the investigation, that followed, while he was on loan with La Liga giants Sevilla, destroyed him and he lost his desire to play football.
He told an Instagram Live discussion: "What happened in Los Angeles ruined my season.
"It was an injection of vitamins that was legal and I had a prescription.
"I was destroyed because I thought I was going to be banned for two years.
"I didn't want to play anymore after that. I even told [Sevilla boss, Jorge] Sampaoli to leave me out, but he always wanted me to play.
"I was lost, I was anxious and angry with everything. I didn't show it on the pitch but football was over for me."
Over the years, despite his obvious talents, Nasri developed a reputation as a bad boy.
Arsenal fans were left seething when he joined Premier League rivals City, calling his move money-motivated and labelling him a mercenary.
During his time in Manchester, even former manager Roberto Mancini said, "I would like to give him a punch" following a man-of-the-match performance in a league game, referring to his players' inconsistency.
But it was his fractured relationship with ex-team-mate William Gallas that caused most controversy over the years.
It began when the former Chelsea defender took umbrage with Nasri for taking Arsenal legend Thierry Henry's seat on a bus during an international break.
"I had a problem with William Gallas. I had an argument with Thierry (Henry) about a seat on the team bus," Nasri told the Daily Mail.
"But after that with Thierry it was cool. We had a misunderstanding."
Gallas felt Nasri disrespected Henry, and refused to talk to him for a year.
And when they faced off against each other in the North London derby after Gallas moved to Spurs, Nasri refused to shake the hand of his compatriot before kick off.
GONE TOO FAR
In 2016, Gallas made the sensational claim that their hatred for one another threatened to get even uglier – with Nasri allegedly hatching a plan to have him Tasered in 2009.
“What you need to know is that I was staying at a hotel with my family," he told RMC Sport TV.
“I was with my cousins for a meal, it was the eve of a gathering of the French team. At the end of the meal I went out of the hotel and some people approached me and wanted to talk to me.
“Initially I did not want to and then I recognised a person who was often with Samir (Nasri) at the Arsenal training ground.
“A few days before we had had an altercation about comments that he made about me and I did not like them.
“This person wanted us to talk and wanted me to see Samir, who was in a car further away so I got ready to follow him – but my cousin, who is a policeman, told me in creole not to follow him.
"At the same time, I glanced inside and I saw someone crouched down with a bag. In the bag, there were Tasers. I didn't know why.
“But luckily I was with people that day, because I do not know what could have happened.”
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