Anelka began his career at Paris Saint-Germain but soon moved to Arsenal. He became a first team regular and won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award the following season. Real Madrid signed him for £22.3 million in 1999, a record fee, but he did not settle in well and returned to Paris Saint-Germain in a £20 million deal. Despite regular first team football in Paris, Anelka set his eyes upon the English Premier League once more; he went on loan to Liverpool in January 2002 but joined Manchester City for £13 million for the start of the 2002–03 season.
After three seasons in Manchester he moved to Fenerbahçe for a season before returning to England to join Bolton Wanderers F.C.– in deals worth £7 and £8 million respectively. He transferred to Chelsea from Bolton for a reported £15 million in January 2008.
Anelka has played many times at international level and won his first international honours with France at Euro 2000, and won the Confederations CupEuro 2008 competition. the following year. His failure to settle at club level limited his international appearances, but he returned to the national team for the
 Club career
 Paris Saint-Germain
In February 1997, at the age of 17, he joined English Premier League club Arsenal under newly appointed manager Arsène Wenger. Anelka scored the his first goal for Arsenal against Manchester United in a 3–2 home win. His first team opportunities were limited in the 1996–97 season, but in the 1997–98 season he broke into the first team, after a long-term injury to striker Ian Wright. Anelka was a key player in Arsenal's "Double" win, of both the Premier League championship and the FA Cup trophy that season. Anelka scored the second goal in Arsenal's 2–0 win over Newcastle United in that season's FA Cup final. for a fee of £500,000
A player with exceptional pace, he won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award in the 1998–99 season, but Arsenal failed to defend their Premiership title and made little progress in the UEFA Champions League, while Anelka wanted a better salary. Fans turned on the striker amid transfer speculation and a perceived lack of enthusiasm, giving him the nickname "Le Sulk". In all he made 90 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 28 goals.
 Real Madrid
He transferred to Real Madrid in the summer of 1999 for £22.3 million pounds.Vicente del Bosque, at one point receiving a 45-day suspension for refusing to train. Despite eventually returning to favour and figuring in the successful capture of the 1999-2000 Champions League campaign (he scored vital goals in both legs of the semi-finals against Bayern Munich and started in the final), he was surplus to the requirements of the club. Anelka began brightly, arriving as a record signing to the Madrid side. He had initial success, but soon fell out of favour with fans, fellow players, and new coach
 Return to Paris-Saint Germain, Loan to Liverpool and Manchester City
Anelka signed a professional contract at Paris Saint-Germain, a return to the club at which he used to play as a youth player, in a transfer deal worth £20 million. After eighteen months, Anelka returned to the English Premiership in January 2002 with Liverpool on a short term loan deal until the end of the season. He contributed to Liverpool's late push to come second in the league, scoring goals against Everton, Fulham, Blackburn, Ipswich and in the FA Cup against Birmingham, but manager Gérard Houllier decided not to offer him a permanent deal after the end of the season in favour of signing his future Bolton team mate El Hadji Diouf. Nevertheless, he was placed 96th in the 100 Players Who Shook The Kop. Anelka opted to join newly promoted Manchester City, and the £13 million fee paid by manager Kevin Keegan was a club record.
In January 2005, the speculation ended when Manchester City announced that Anelka had completed a £7 million transfer to Turkish team Fenerbahçe.Newcastle United for a return to English football, although the transfer never came about. Anelka stayed on at the Turkish club where he played with them in the UEFA Champions League, but they finished bottom of their group. Anelka helped the Turkish club win the league title in 2005. In August of that same year, there was considerable speculation in the press that Anelka was being courted by
During the summer transfer window of 2006, press reports once again linked Anelka with a return to English football. Portsmouth manager Harry RedknappFratton Park, or take him on a season long loan. was allegedly willing to either pay £8.2 million to bring the striker to
 Bolton Wanderers
On 25 August 2006, Bolton Wanderers signed Anelka on a four-year deal for a club record of £8 million. Anelka made his debut for Bolton against Watford on 9 September 2006. He finished the 2006–07 season as Bolton's top scorer with 11 goals.
During January 2007, Anelka stated that he would be willing to leave Bolton Wanderers for a return to former club Arsenal. However, Anelka pledged his future to Bolton Wanderers in July 2007, following talks with manager Sammy Lee. Anelka later said he would reluctantly consider leaving the club if Bolton's poor start to the 2007-08 season continues. However, Anelka signed a new four year contract with Bolton Wanderers on August 30, which would expire in 2011.
On 11 January 2008 it was confirmed that Anelka would join Chelsea for £15 million. Anelka made his debut against Tottenham Hotspur on 12 January 2008, and scored his first goal two weeks later in the FA Cup against Wigan Athletic. He scored his first league goal on 2 February against Portsmouth F.C. but failed to score again for Chelsea during the 2007–2008 season. This was generally attributed to the fact that manager Avram Grant used him mainly as a substitute or played him in a wing position.
In the 2008 UEFA Champions League Final, Anelka's seventh and decisive penalty was stopped by Edwin van der Sar, ultimately resulting in Manchester UnitedChampions League. On 3 August 2008, Anelka scored 4 goals against AC Milan in a 5–0 friendly win. winning the
With Didier Drogba injured at the beginning of the season, Anelka made a very impressive start to the 2008–09 campaign. So far, he has scored 25 times—19 of which in the Premier League, making the Frenchman the first player to reach 10 goals in the competition that season and as of 18/05/09, the joint top leading Premiership goalscorer. For this, he was awarded with a Barclays Golden Boot Anelka scored his first competitive hat-trick for Chelsea against Sunderland, in a 5–0 home win on 1 November 2008, and followed this up with two braces against Blackburn, then West Brom. He established himself as an important member of the squad and maintained his place in the team despite the return to fitness of Drogba. After the arrival of Guus Hiddink, Anelka is more often played on the wing. Furthermore, he is currently ranked amongst the top goalscorers in the league for the season. He scored another hat-trick against Watford in the FA Cup to earn Chelsea a 3–1 victory at Vicarage Road.. On 10 May he scored one goal and set up another in a 4–1 away win against former club Arsenal which resulted in their worst home defeat for 38 years. A powerful strike in Chelsea's final Premier League game of the season at Sunderland put him as top goal scorer for the season in the Premiership, earning him the Golden Boot with 19 goals in total. Award on 14 November 2008 and is in the running for the end of season Golden Boot accolade.
 International career
At youth level, Anelka played for the French U-20 team at the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship, and made his senior team debut for France in a goalless draw with Sweden on April 22, 1998. Anelka made his first appearance in a major tournament at Euro 2000; France went on to win the competition. He also formed part of the squad which won the 2001 FIFA Confederations Cup. Despite a promising start, Anelka lost his place in the national team from 2001–2007 as he was not playing much first team football at club level; mainly due to the fact that he was frequently transferred between clubs. When striker Djibril Cissé was forced out of 2006 World Cup due to injury, Olympique Lyonnais' striker Sidney Govou was called up as Cissé's replacement rather than Anelka, who described the decision as a "real shame...I was completely available and ready to play in this World Cup. I think I could have helped France."
Anelka came on as a substitute in the Euro 2008 qualifier against Lithuania on March 24, 2007, and scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory. Following his performance, Anelka was praised by Raymond Domenech: "It is the Nicolas I like to see... when he shows these qualities, he is a candidate for a permanent place." He also scored in the 2–0 victory against Ukraine on June 2, 2007, and is now one of Raymond Domenech's first-choice strikers, forming France's number one attacking partnership with Thierry Henry.
Anelka featured in the France squad for the Euro 2008 Championships in Austria and Switzerland . Anelka started France's first group game against Romania, but was substituted after 72 minutes . He did not start either of France's remaining two games in the tournament against Netherlands and Italy, coming on as a substitute in both games  .
Anelka is married to Barbara Tausia, a Belgian choreographer, and enjoys playing tennis in his free time. He acted in the 2002 film Le Boulet as a footballer named Nicolas. He has stated that, when he retires from football, he would like to work in the film industry because he has a friend in the business. He said: "I have a friend who's a producer, who makes lots of films. He recently did Asterix. So it's already agreed that I'm going to do other films. It helps to know actors and producers. It's different to football and it's something I enjoy very much because there's no ball. I like pretending to be somebody else, it's fun."
After discussing religion with some childhood friends, Anelka converted to IslamUnited Arab Emirates, taking the Muslim name of Abdul-Salam Bilal. Initially, Anelka considered leaving European football to play in the UAE: ""I am ready to stay here and to play for a club in the Emirates. I am not keen to go back to England or France." However, this did not come to pass and he briefly moved to Turkey instead. in 2004 in the