French attacking midfielder Samir Nasri retired from football on September 26, 2021, and had the opportunity to showcase himself in the game on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, only to return with a potbelly.
The former Arsenal and Manchester City player was among the football legends that were invited for a charity game at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France on Wednesday. He played for the ‘Legends of Marseille’ team against a UNICEF XI managed by his former coach at Arsenal Arsene Wenger.
When pictures from the game emerged, people who followed the peak of his career could not believe the incredible transformation Samir Nasri has to undergo within a month out of professional football.
The 34-year-old French footballer was overweight. His new figure was so overwhelming that some began to doubt the authenticity of the pictures that surfaced on the internet from the charity game.
Lo and behold, a clip dropped from the event that cleared all doubt that Samir Nasri decided to fully embrace retirement even though he retired a bit young enough to still maintain his professional physique.
In a clip from the charity game, Nasri could be seen falling flat on the pitch as he tried to anticipate a pass because he could no longer carry his body as he used to.
No way this is Samir Nasri😭 pic.twitter.com/KfbtroTqVd— YbN Hakeem (@Mrr_hakeem999) October 14, 2021
Those who were critical of Samir Nasri’s new look believed that he became overweight because of how much he has been enjoying his retirement. While others believed that he has been struggling with retirement.
To make matters worse for Samir Nasri who played for the ‘Legends of Marseille’ team alongside Didier Drogba during the charity game, the 41-year-old Ivorian retired professional footballer appeared as fit as he was when he was still playing.
The iconic former Chelsea striker was so fit during the charity game that he scored a hat trick against Arsene Wenger led UNICEF XI.
When the Ivorian football legend scored one of his goals, he ignited the stadium by displaying his iconic celebration style which is to spread his two hands sideways and then slide on the pitch with his knees.
As for 34-year-old Samir Nasri, his two highlights in the game were that he appeared with a potbelly and fell on the pitch while anticipating a pass.
Recall that Nasri started his professional football career at Marseille in 2004 before he joined Arsenal for €16 million in 2008.
The French attacking midfielder spent three seasons at Arsenal scoring 27 goals and providing 16 assists in 126 games before he joined Manchester City on August 24, 2011, for €27.50 million.
Samir Nasri hit the peak of his career at Manchester City where he played 176 times, scoring 27 goals and providing 40 assists. He helped the club to win two Premier League titles.
Why Samir Nasri was banned and the abrupt end of his football career
Samir Nasri started to struggle for regular playing time at Manchester City from the 2015-2016 season. Hence, he had to be sent on loan to Sevilla FC, and then sold to Antalyaspor on August 21, 2017, for just €3.50 million.
While at Antalyaspor, UEFA banned him on February 22, 2018, from football for six-month for receiving an intravenous drip of 500 millilitres of water containing nutrients in December 2016, which was against UEFA’s anti-doping rules.
To make matters worst for the French footballer, UEFA added 12 months to the length of the ban on August 1, 2018, following an appeal from UEFA’s ethics and disciplinary inspector. He was however able to scale through the additional period faster because the ban was back-dated to 1 July 2017.
Towards the end of the ban, Samir Nasri began to train with West Ham United and was subsequently offered a short-term deal at the Premier League club on January 1, 2019, months after the ban was lifted.
He managed to play for West Ham 6 times and provided 2 assists. However, the Frenchman failed to impress the club, hence, he was allowed to go at the end of the 2018-2019 season.
After the disappointing spell at West Ham, the Frenchman joined Belgian club, Anderlecht on July 5, 2019, and was released at the end of the 2019-2020 season.
Samir Nasri stayed without a club for almost a year before he decided to officially announce his retirement from football on September 26, 2021.