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).”



  • TheNutJob

    Maybe it`ll do him some good joining his national team, he` better training out there than coming back to a freezing Newcastle

  • Graham Chapman

    This whole episode makes a mockery of medicals. They’re obviously pointless. And hopefully someone can explain why we can’t stop him from going off to the friendly? Fergie always managed to get his players out if needed. Algeria v Tanzania, hardly a glamour tie

    • TheNutJob

      the snides have changed the rules, a player must report if his National federation ask

    • Ram Kishore

      Algeria Vs Tanzania may not be a glamorous match for u but it definitely is one for Algerians and Tanzanians…

  • Paul Patterson

    No, but as manager he has the power to tell the player to f**k off and stop wasting the clubs time . .

    • Kev

      I don’t think he does…the deal has been done and Slim is contracted to the pies until the end if the season and they to him.

  • ghostrider

    Something doesn’t appear to ring legitimate about this carry on.
    If Slimani can play for his country then Rafa can use him for us…surely.

    So what if he breaks down. It’s not as if we’ve lost anything.
    Unless there’s some kind of clauses in contracts.

    If we’re paying his wages then we have every right to demand Algeria pay them if he starts and gets injured…or aggravates the so called injury he has.

    I’d much rather he goes to play for Algeria and stays there till the end of the season so we don’t have to give a flying truck about him and can concentrate on the players we have.

    • Geordiegiants

      Has he signed for the inbreds like?

  • Sid James

    What a Carry On

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    I can’t help but think that Slimani is another typical dodgy Mike Ashley signing along with the likes of Chucky, Seydou Doumbia etc
    It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he never makes an appearance for Newcastle Utd !

    • Kneebotherm8

      As you say,he’ll not be the first…

    • Jezza

      Precisely what I’ve been saying all along. He won’t make an appearance and he won’t cost a penny either.

    • Mxpx

      Agreed I don’t believe he’s injured at all I think that he’s not the first to be “injured” and won’t be the last the chances of seeing him play for us look very low

  • kingfisher

    Another Ashley get rich quick scheme.It’s quite simple really,If Slimani is fit enough to play for his country, then he’s fit enough to play for his club, and by the same token, if he’s not fit enough to play for his club, then he’s not fit enough to play for his country.
    Something doesn’t feel right with the whole Slimani situation. It smacks of typical Ashley underhand skulduggery, the man’s a lying, cheating spiv who makes Del Boy Trotter look like business man of the year 😁

  • Toontone100

    Not ideal timing for the game but sounds like Rafa is happy about him getting game time … there are positives