Paris - Former West Bromwich Albion forward Nicolas Anelka, who was handed a five-match ban for an alleged anti-Semitic gesture and sacked by his club, has reiterated on Friday he is neither anti-Semitic nor racist.
The Frenchman, who made the "quenelle" gesture described as an inverted Nazi salute in a match in December, claimed it was a tribute to his French comedian friend Dieudonne M'Bala M'Bala who invented it.
"To say that I'm anti-Semitic and racist, you need proof. I have no anti-Semitic or racist antecedent, so there is no proof, not a shred of evidence," Anelka, who was fired by West Brom for gross misconduct last month, told the French edition of Metronews on Friday.
"Why should I think about the Jewish community when I score a goal? I have never had a problem with it (the Jewish community) and actually why should I?
"Who should decide if the quenelle is anti-Semitic or racist apart from the one who invented it? When you ask Dieudo, he clearly says that it is not.
"Just because some people made the gesture in front of a synagogue, the gesture becomes anti-Semitic and racist when made anywhere in any situation? Sorry but I cannot swallow that.
"So if I understand clearly, all priests are paedophiles and all Muslims are terrorists?"
Anelka is no stranger to scandal, having been banned for 18 games for insulting then France coach Raymond Domenech at the 2010 World Cup.
He has no regret, however.
"I insulted a coach whom every French person was already insulting. If I had to do it again I would because he deserved it at the time," said Anelka, who added he had received contract offers from several clubs.
"There are good chances you will see me on a pitch again," the former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Paris St Germain player said.