Nicolas Anelka has apologised to national coach Jacques Santini and his team-mates for his refusal to join up with the France squad.

The apology comes 16 months after the 25-year-old Manchester City striker turned down the chance of an international call-up when he was summoned as a replacement for the injured Sidney Govou.

Anelka, who has scored six goals for France, said it was time to build bridges with national coach Jacques Santini.

“It seemed to me important that I apologise to Jacques Santini and to the French team,” he said on his website.

“Back in November 2002 I turned down the French team.

“I explained then my reasons for refusing to join up because it was important to me above all to react with frankness, and truthfully.

“Those who know me acknowledge that despite the differences I had with the French team I have the greatest respect for them.

“Unfortunately the controversy that followed completely misinterpreted the way I felt at the time.

“These apologies will now allow me to relax inside my head and focus completely on football, without having to think about anything else,” he added.