Anelka said: “There you are far away from everything. Being a long way away from a big league made me reflect on things a lot. I could see football from a different point of view, and also my life.
“It was in Istanbul that I realised just how much I love this sport. In my heart of hearts I always wanted to come back to a major league – notably England.
“That time made me more mature. I think a bit more before acting now. I have got wiser.
“Before I was arrogant and hypersensitive. I didn’t calculate anything. Apart from football, I didn’t care about anything. But now I’ve changed.
“And I’ve done it for my parents too. I realised they were affected by what was said about me. It bothered them because the Nicolas Anelka in the media wasn’t the one they knew.
“Today I try harder to make them proud of me. I want to make my parents happy, because when they’re happy, I’m happy.”