Marouane Chamakh reveals blackmail troubles

Crystal Palace striker says Arsenal spell disrupted by police investigation

Marouane Chamakh hopes for a fresh start at Crystal Palace. Photograph: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Marouane Chamakh hopes for a fresh start at Crystal Palace. Photograph: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Thu, Aug 22, 2013, 17:17

Marouane Chamakh has admitted that a blackmail case, which involved a police investigation in 2011 shortly after he moved to England, destabilised him just as his career in the Premier League was taking shape.

The Moroccan striker told L’Equipe that the situation was “pretty serious” and wore him down. “It was not easy for me because things about my private life were disclosed,” he said. “The tabloids did not have the right to publish photos or videos. The story weighed me down. People tried to blackmail me. I filed a complaint, the police intervened and found these people.”

While Chamakh hoped football would help him to move on, he found his career stalled. After a decent start at Arsenal, with 11 goals from his first 22 games, his chance to play was limited when Robin van Persie returned from injury. “I wish I had more time to play at Arsenal,” he said. “With the system of one up front there was no comparison between him (van Persie) and me. I respect the choice of the manager, but I didn’t really have my chance. I may have been too stubborn to want to stay too long at Arsenal.”

He was led to expect things would be different at West Ham United, when he moved to east London on loan last winter, but ended up feeling let down by Sam Allardyce. “I made a bad choice. It did not go well at all,” Chamakh said. “The manager promised me that with Andy Carroll’s injury, I would have playing time. We had a conversation but he didn’t respect it. It’s because of that I needed some time before saying yes to Crystal Palace. I do not want to make the same mistake twice.”

Chamakh signed a one-year deal at Selhurst Park last week. “There were several opportunities in Greece, Turkey, Spain, France and even the Middle East. But I prefer another season in England because I love this championship. I know I’ll have plenty of time to play here (at Palace). I’m going to get chances, and find the net.”

Guardian Service