Has Coloccini played his last game for Newcastle?
Fabricio Coloccini is a cult figure, an icon and a world class defender – but I fear he may have played his last game for Newcastle. I hope I’m wrong.
March 8th, 2013
During the January transfer window, rumours surfaced that captain Coloccini had told the Newcastle management of his intentions to leave the club due to personal reasons. Around the same time, Colo’s father Osvaldo told the media that his son wanted to quit Tyneside for boyhood club San Lorenzo, and that he is trying to reach an agreement to terminate his contract. After a series of meetings, Alan Pardew confirmed that his star defender had decided to remain on Tyneside until the end of the season before further talks.
Two weeks ago, Coloccini showed superb agility to carry out an overhead clearance from near the corner flag in Newcastle’s 4-2 home win against Southampton. However, he landed awkwardly and was forced to come off with a back injury. He subsequently missed the away game at Swansea last weekend – with uncertainty over the injury suffered. Yesterday, Pardew revealed that the defender had broken two bones in his back and would be side-lined for “three to seven weeks.” Furthermore, we were told that Colo is away in Argentina “for a week.”
I might be cynical, but the first thing that came to my head when I read Pardew’s comments was, is Coloccini coming back? Has he played his last game for Newcastle? For all we know, the trip may well be a result of him getting this break (no pun intended) to resolve personal issues. However, even if we’re to assume that he’s out for seven weeks, it means he will return in May, which is effectively end of the season. So, worst case scenario is that he’s out for rest of the season, and has played his last game for us.
My hunch about Coloccini doesn’t just come from January’s bizarre incident and his coincidental return to Argentina. Over the last few months, we’ve seen the club take steps which seem to suggest that Coloccini is on his way out. The first was the signing of Montpellier captain and French defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in January. At the time, Pardew said that Mapou was on the summer 2013 targets list but the club had to act quickly. In Mapou, we see a leader similar to Coloccini – a commanding, ball-playing defender.
Secondly, since Coloccini’s back injury, Pardew has handed the armband to Frenchman Yohan Cabaye. In the past, the gaffer had spoken of Cabaye as a leader and a future Newcastle captain. That Yohan is leading us instead of vice-captain Jonas Gutierrez suggests to me that we’ve got a new captain for next season and beyond.
If Colo has played his last game for us, I wish him nothing but the best in Argentina. He has been nothing short of sensational for us – and in my view our best defender since Jonathan Woodgate. Here’s hoping he’s back in time to lead the team out for the UEFA Europa League final in Amsterdam on May 15, and goes out in a blaze of glory. Fingers crossed.
Umar Farooq, Editor – NUFCfans.co.uk