Rafa Benitez wasn’t happy when Algeria called up Islam Slimani, despite the striker not having being fit to play since the middle of January.

The Newcastle boss saying last weekend (see below) that ‘It is not ideal but we cannot stop them or stop him playing.’

He also expressed the hope that Algeria would only play him in the friendlies if he was fully fit.

On Thursday, Algeria took on Tanzania and beat them 4-1, Islam Slimani wasn’t involved.

All eyes then turned to the next game for Algeria, which is a friendly against Iran onTuesday (27 March).

It was then quickly reported in the Algerian media that Islam Slimani had also been ruled out of that match, some five days before it was due to be played.

However, breaking news on Monday afternoon from DZ Football, who specialise in covering Algerian football, is that Islam Slimani has made much better progress than expected and is now a possibility to start against Iran tomorrow.

DZ Football:


“Islam Slimani recovering sooner than first thought and is a possibility to start tomorrow’s match vs Iran.”

Rafa Benitez will no doubt have mixed feelings about this news on Monday, obviously encouraged by the positive reports regarding his improved fitness to play BUT at the same time worried in case the striker breaks down again if used tomorrow.

The Mag – 17 March 2018:

Rafa Benitez is in a difficult position with Islam Slimani, having ruled the player out of playing against Royal Antwerp in Newcastle’s friendly on Sunday.

The United boss desperate for the striker to give him extra goal threat in the remaining games of the relegation fight.

However, now stuck in a club v country clash where he is powerless to dictate matters.

Rafa has explained on Saturday how they have to take it very careful with Slimani’s return but accepts there is nothing he can do if Algeria play the striker regardless and/or if Islam Slimani himself just decides to have a game.

Algeria play Tanzania in a friendly on Thursday (22 March) and that will be over nine weeks since Slimani played any football.

Five days later (against Iran on Tuesday 27 March) they play once again, four days before Newcastle take on Huddersfield in the Premier League.

Rafa Benitez speaking to Matthew Raisbeck of BBC Newcastle:

Islam Slimani had the problem before and we thought he was fine, and he was telling us he was fine.

“He was pushing himself a little bit and still he was not fully fit.

“We needed to be cautious, so we went back, started again – slowly – just in case.

(Rafa Benitez on the position with Islam Slimani and Algeria):

“It is not ideal but we cannot stop them or stop him playing.

“At the same time, we want to him to play to be sure he’s a little bit better if he has to play against Huddersfield.

“He is progressing.

“Our medical stuff are talking with the medical staff of his national team.

“Hopefully, he will progress in the days ahead and we will see if he can play some minutes there (for Algeria).”

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Start him, if he breaks down tough schitt as this is a never ending story, if he gets some game time & comes through that`s fine he`ll be on the bench on Saturday
    If he doesn`t you don`t miss what you`ve never had & we have Dwight & the Hoss

  • Mike

    eeek another waste of money

    • Jezza

      Not a waste of money because he hasn’t cost a penny. The whole thing is a ruse by the Ashley camp.

      • Anita kick up the Hoop

        Utter pap

  • TheFatController

    If we did beat Huddersfield and then Leicester, we could after that game just leave him outside Leicester’s stadium and deny we ever loaned him …

    • MichaelMaximusMoose


    • mactoon

      On a hospital trolley :)

    • Peaky Magpie


    • Jezza

      In real terms Newcastle haven’t loaned Slimani. The club haven’t handed over a penny either to Leicester City or the player. He is on a pay per play deal and not playing. The whole thing is essentially a hoax transfer concocted by the Ashley camp to placate the fans and quell any unrest and/or demos at the end of the transfer window.

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        That’s very interesting Jezza, how do you come by this amazing information? Leicester and Slimani agreed to this as one massive favour to Mike Ashley?

        This is a player Leicester were expecting to get £25m from Monaco and they are now happy to pay him to rot at Newcastle?

        • mentalman

          Jezza has an amazing amount of information that only someone within the club would know

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            Either that or, he may just have made up another fib?

  • kingfisher

    Surely our medical staff would have known if Slimani was going to be fit enough to play in these matches. The fact that he didn’t play in the first game must mean that it’s a close call and if it’s that close,then surely it’s not worth the risk, but do we need him !

    • TheNutJob

      have we got medical staff or does Fatty just have a locum which pops in once in a while

      • Peaky Magpie

        Penfold sorts the medical issues…he’s fully qualified…he watches Holby every week.

        • TheNutJob


        • nufcslf

          A bit like the comments by the Cashley rse lickers above.

    • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

      If he’s going to be fit to have any inclusion on Saturday, a 20 minutes cameo in a slightly competitive friendly is the ideal way back for him.

      I hope he gets a run out against the Shah boys.

  • mactoon

    If our lot have doubts about him starting or even taking part against Huddersfield how can he be considered for Algeria tomorrow???

    Something smells fishy here.

  • Peaky Magpie

    Is he even wearing that black n white shirt up top or is it photoshopped ??? Waste of bloody time….

    • MichaelMaximusMoose


    • thewildchimp

      Exactly. Until I see “He’s Fit, Gonna Play” headlines, I’m gonna stop clicking them.

  • Paul Patterson

    Enoughs enough. He has no intention of playing for Newcastle. Another player who has his International side ahead of his club.

    • Jezza

      Ashley has got no intention of Slimani playing for Newcastle. As long as he’s not playing he’s not costing a penny.

      • Anita kick up the Hoop

        Of course he’s “costing a penny” we’ve paid a loan fee and are picking up his wages!!! What warped planet do you live on?

        • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

          Jezza has made up a theory that he’s on a pay as he plays deal. He now passes it off as true despite all logic would suggest otherwise. Why would Leicester agree to this, why would Slimani agree to move when there is an incentive to to play him?

          It’s just yet another Jezza lie.

          • Anita kick up the Hoop

            This ”Jezza” creature is a lunatic… can you just imagine Slimani sitting on full pay in the Leicester physio room and thinking to himself ,, “I know what would be a good move for me…. Newcastle on a pay as I play contract .. never mind this long term injury I’ve got already and fingers crossed I don’t break a leg or anything… where do I sign???”
            Who’s his agent?? Dianne Abbott?????

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            I love the idea of Dianne Abbott as a football agent, ‘my player demands twelfty pounds’ .

            We all have a little theory but Jezza passes it off as fact. The problem is all his lies make no sense, he never asks himself why would these people agree to this conspiracy theory?

          • Anita kick up the Hoop

            Just like his name sake In the anti Semite party

          • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

            You are not wrong there.

          • mentalman

            Jezza has a lot of made up theories

        • WrongToon

          Are we picking up his wages? I’d hazard a guess that we wouldn’t have agreed to pick up the full wages of an injured player, but would start doing so (or a large portion) the moment he could participate in full training and was fit enough to at least be on the bench. The incentive for Leicester is that they would save money when he became fit, the incentive for us would be that we would only pay when he was fit, and the incentive for the player would be that he would actually have a chance of playing, as he wouldn’t have that at all at Leicester (like Mitro here). I doubt he’s not costing a penny (loan fee will have been agreed and paid), but I also doubt we’re paying full whack for him either – can you imagine getting Ashley’s wallet supervisor to agree to that?!

    • JEz_Brizzle

      Another club vs country issue perhaps, but remember we are not even ‘his’ club! There is also an issue that Rafa is very cautious bringing players back from injury (is that why we got the loan?) – so there may also be a bit of the player saying he’s fit and the Gafa saying wait – Rafa is happy to bench people ‘for the long term cause’ – eg Mitro

    • thewildchimp

      That’s how it should be. I don’t trust any player who puts his club before his country. It means he’s just a filthy mercenary and would ditch the club at the first given opportunity.

      • Martin Rooney

        Why should anyone in the northeast be interested in playing for the club of greater london

  • Anita kick up the Hoop

    I hope he never plays and gets a flight direct to Leicester

  • Phil Yare

    i think he’ll be fit for next season to partner Ferreyra in attack

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Yet another pathetic sad comment from Jezza the bloke is injured nothing to do with Ashley. He got his main injury in training. What a very sad man you are.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Only a fool would sign a player that`s injured

      • Martin Rooney


  • Colin Brumwell

    They should rename him Slimarcelino

  • thewildchimp

    Lads, if Slimani is gonna do anything for us this season, he needs match fitness as much as physical fitness. It’s GOOD for us if he plays for Algeria, because that’s one less game until he’s back to his usual self. If he breaks – he breaks.

  • texfitz

    Well I’m not too concerned about this latest article on Slimani. Our recent upturn in form has been achieved without him. If anything, getting a run out in an international friendly for the last 20 mins will gauge his fitness progress. I’ll be happy enough if he chips in with a few goals in the run in – that helps us pick up a few extra points along the way. But I think we’ll be safe by then anyway. 2 more wins and a draw.

  • Martin Rooney

    Send him back to Leicester

  • gallowgate26

    Just watch, he will get 5 minutes against Huddersfield and then the next game is…. Leicester haha.