Our captain has been talking extensively about his time at Newcastle United and makes it clear he has no regrets about his decision to stay after relegation and obviously felt a duty to stay anyway as he felt ‘responsible’.
In an exclusive interview with fifa.com Fabricio Coloccini talks about conquering the Geordie accent and the honour he feels wearing the captain’s armband.
Colo is a great example to other players that even if you make a bad start at Newcastle United, if you show commitment and that you care, the fans are always willing to give any player a second chance.
“My first season here was a bit difficult as I knew very little about their football. However, bit by bit I picked up how things were done and started to become part of it,” said Coloccini of the move that took him from Spain’s Deportivo La Coruna. “On top of that I knew very little English, and then I had to understand the northern accent! But I’m used to it at this stage, so much so that when I go to London I find it easy to understand people. That said, I think I can now call myself a northerner!”
The central defender undoubtedly feels at home in Newcastle, where the fans – “truly impressive,” according to Coloccini – have taken him to their heart, and he already wears the captain’s armband. “That’s a real honour and something I’m proud of,” he said. “Having this privilege is a little complicated though, first because I’m a foreigner, and secondly because my English still isn’t perfect. That’s why I view it as a gift to be enjoyed to the full. I try to fulfil my captain’s duties as best I can to drive the team on.”
Does he see the captain’s role as recompense for his services to the club and for sticking with them even after relegation? “I felt responsible for the club being in the second division and wanted to help get them out of there. It’s so nice when you can make amends for that kind of blemish on your CV,” he said, before adding: “I don’t regret staying [after the relegation] and risking the World Cup.”
Now, more than ever, Coloccini has reason to be thankful for that decision. Pre-season, the captain set a minimum target of 44 points to ensure top-flight status and allow the team to push on for a possible UEFA Europa League place. With one third of the campaign still to run, the Magpies are almost at that total already and currently lie just a point outside the final UEFA Champions League berth.
“The English league is all about getting the ball forward and about speed. There is more attacking and less tactics. As a spectacle I enjoy it greatly as there are more goalscoring opportunities (than elsewhere),” he added.
Now 30, the defender is not giving up on an international recall, although it is not something he is obsessing about. “Honestly, what I’m focusing on right now is my club, and being successful here. An international recall would be a bonus. If I’m selected again it will be because I’m doing a good job here. If not then I still have to keep doing what’s required of me at the club, which has put a lot of faith in me.”