In an interview at Clairefontaine just days before the start of Euro 2016, Moussa Sissoko has at last admitted that he wants to leave Newcastle United.

The French midfielder claims that he has had an excellent relationship with Rafa Benitez and he is flattered that a ‘great coach’ like Rafa wants him to stay BUT as a player he must continue his ‘development’.

To no doubt many laughs from Newcastle fans reading this, Moussa Sissoko claims that after relegation he grieves ‘for me, the club, my family and many other people (the Newcastle fans…?)’.

Despite this ‘heartfelt’ statement, Moussa Sissoko though says that ‘Now it is for me to look ahead’.

You definitely get the feeling that this is Michael Owen all over again, a key figure in helping Newcastle to be relegated and then walking away without a care in the world or any feeling of responsibility for what has happened.

Moussa Sissoko speaking to Foot Mercato:

“It was not easy. As a player and competitor, we would love to play the leading roles. Unfortunately, this year (2015/16 season) it was not the case. This year, we are unfortunately relegated.

“I grieve for me, for the club, for my family and many other people. It was a complicated season. Many things happened during the season. Things are done. Now it is for me to look ahead.

“When he (Rafa Benitez) arrived, I had a very good relationship with him. This is a coach who already knew me. When I was in Toulouse, he wanted me at Liverpool. I decided to stay in Toulouse because I was young and I wanted to continue my apprenticeship there. When he arrived, we could talk together. Things have gone very well. Unfortunately, it has failed to keep us up but he and I had a very good relationship.

“It is flattering that a coach like him, a great coach, wants to keep me, but I think he knows that I get to a level where playing in the Championship would be difficult for me. I must continue my development.

I aspire to play for the biggest clubs in Europe and continue to be in the France team. I think he understands. Today, if I play in the Championship, I forget about the France team and many other things.

“I have already had a discussion with him. My representative will have a discussion with him. I think he knows what I want, where I want to go. So I hope there will be no problem for me to find my happiness at another club.

“Personally I have not spoken with the club. My advisers have spoken. I do not know, but I hope with all my heart. I arrived  there three and a half years ago.

“I gave everything there for three years. I hope that today they will be smart enough to understand that to continue my development, I need to keep playing at the highest level – through another club. As I want to stay in the France team I could not stay in the Championship. There will be discussions. I hope they will go in my favour. I want to leave.

“I want to continue my career in England, at a club that plays in the Champions League, because I think the English league is the championship that best fits my style of play.

“My advisers and I will listen to everything. We will take the best decision together.”