Achraf Lazaar has slagged off Rafa Benitez after what he sees as a wasted year of his career.

The left-back says that he was ready to move to Fiorentina last summer when Rafa Benitez rang him and persuaded the defender to sign for Newcastle instead.

Last September, despite not getting an early chance in the Championship, Lazaar spoke glowingly (see below) about his new manager and club, saying it was a ‘dream’ come true.

Now however, Achraf Lazaar says that heading out of Newcastle this summer has been ‘the end of a nightmare’.

The Moroccan international didn’t start a single one of the 46 Championship games and only got 36 minutes in four brief sub appearances.

Lazaar claims that to make it even worse, ‘Rafa Benitez never gave me an explanation’.

The defender saying that all that Rafa had said to him was that was ‘more suited to Serie A or the Premier League’.

The left-back will be hoping to make his debut this Sunday afternoon as Benevento host Torino, they have lost their first two league games as well as being hammered 4-0 at home in the Coppa Italia by Perugia.

Achraf Lazaar speaking to reporters ahead of Benevento v Torino, as reported by Football Italia:

“My signing for Benevento is the end of a nightmare.

“At Newcastle I never played and over a whole year Rafa Benitez never gave me an explanation.

“All he said was that I was a player more suited to Serie A or the Premier League, rather than the Championship.

“It’s a shame because he really wanted me.

“I was about to sign for Fiorentina when he called me and told me to go to him.

“They were just words, what a disappointment.”

Achraf Lazaar – 14 September 2016:

“Playing in England has always been my dream, it is the right season for me.

“In Sicily too many changes, so many situations and so Benitez’ call…to receive the call from an important coach like Benitez who spoke to me in a truly humble way was something unexpected and important. He has won so much, is one of the strongest in the world. I could only say ‘yes sir. I am here’.

“I saw the facilities, the environment is very different from Italy. The is an amazing organisation, a beautiful stadium, fantastic fans. Here in serie B (Championship) there are fifty two thousand subscribers (fans), a fantastic reality.

“They treated me very well from day one, here as a player you feel one hundred percent. Here you can grow and get where you couldn’t even imagine. No limits.

“I had to choose between Newcastle and Fiorentina. Fiorentina are a great club, but my head and my family have told me, ‘Go to Newcastle’.

“England has always been my dream, then Newcastle will go in the Premier League and it has everything to be great. “

“I build my future thinking of the present, you never know what can happen – maybe I’ll end my career at Newcastle or elsewhere.

“Today I want to give my all for Newcastle, who believed in me and who have shown that with actions, not words.”



  • steve

    Rafa’s man management skills leave a lot to be desired.

    • StevieB

      I do feel that myself sometimes. Proper strange one the way he treated Lazaar

      • Cuh

        Lazaar, Krul, Mbabu.

        • steve

          M’Bemba, Mitrovic, Gayle, playing Lascelles through an injury.

          • hetonmag

            Rafa bashing is unnecessary what do you want maybe keep player’s that aren’t good enough to play for our club, read day in day out on this forum about these players are not enough to keep us in the premier, didn’t Keegan get rid of certain player’s when we got promoted.

          • steve

            Selling the player isn’t the issue, writing the player off and not talking to him about is where the bad management comes in.

    • Burt Humperdink

      Agree even Liverpool fans and indeed ex players have been very vocal about the fact he is a strange man and difficult to get praise from.

      • Pozz Mozz

        Rafa doesn’t pander to players’ egos that’s why he didn’t last at Real Madrid. At Liverpool, he was backstabbed by Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher for not being palsy enough. Funny enough, they won nothing since he left.

  • ghostrider

    It generally takes two to tango, so, as much as Rafa might be guilty of a few side steps with some players, he seems to have the attention of the majority and that’s what counts.
    Sometimes you just have to be a bit ruthless.
    Niceness can easily be construed as a weakness and once players see that… you’re doomed.

  • Rob Brown

    Sounds like Rafa brought him in as a squad player, just in case we ran out.
    Either that or he just didn’t cut it in training.
    Either way – sounds like someone who got a year at one of the biggest clubs in the world, just wasn’t good enough, and feels the need to blame someone else.
    If he got 36 minutes in an entire season, surely it was his ability that was lacking, not Rafa’s

  • Steve Smith

    If only some of our other managers had the spine of Benitez.

  • Mark Spark

    Seems Fairly straight foward to me.not deemed good enough by Rafa or any of the staff and also not even enough potential to keep as back up

    • Martin Rooney

      Bought by Rafa

    • StevieB

      Not correct

    • Paul Smith

      But he was signed by Rafa and according to Lazaar Rafa told him he wanted him… Sooo yeah.

  • Andy Mac

    I think history has shown that buying players isn’t necessarily Rafa’s strong point ?

  • MadToonFan&VitalAshleyDroveOut

    Maybe not as good as 1st initially thought & a tad sour grapes?
    People at times can show their true colours, I’d personally never criticise others for the work I have done or did, but everyone copes & is different, spec these prima donna’s 😉, lol.
    Joking aside, I just really hope he’s found his home & a place to rest for a while, so good luck.