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.”