London (AFP) – Former French international midfielder Samir Nasri returned to football on Monday following a doping ban by joining English Premier League side West Ham.
Nasri will reunite with West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini, with whom he won one of his two Premier League titles at Manchester City, after joining the Hammers on an initial contract until the end of the 2018/19 season with an option to extend his stay.
“Coming back to the most competitive league in the world, with a team full of ambition with a manager that I know… I’m really excited about it,” said Nasri.
Nasri, 31, is free to play again from January 1 after being suspended in February while playing for Turkish side Antalyaspor for taking a multi-vitamin booster in contravention of World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules.
An initial six-month ban was extended to 18 months by UEFA in August, but backdated to July 1, 2017.
“He is a player I obviously know well from our time together at Manchester City and I am happy to be working with him again,” said the Chilean coach.
“He has been working very hard here in recent weeks to build up his fitness and condition after a long period without playing, and he is now very determined to return to his best.”
Former City and Arsenal midfielder Nasri made 41 appearances for France before retiring from international football in 2014, aged just 27, after not being picked for the World Cup in Brazil by Didier Deschamps.
West Ham sit 11th in the Premier League having recovered from four straight defeats at the start of Pellegrini’s reign.
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