'Staying at Newcastle would be like finishing my football career' – United loan defender opens up on Magpies struggle

Newcastle United loan defender Achraf Lazaar has claimed his time at St James’s Park has made him ‘become a man’ – but he has absolutely no intention to return.

Saturday, 19th October 2019, 8:45 am
Newcastle United's Achraf Lazaar reacts while playing against Wolverhampton Wanderers during the 2019 Premier League Asia Trophy football tournament in Nanjing, in China's Jiangsu province on July 17, 2019. (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)

The Morocco international, ranked as probably Rafa Benitez’s worst signing at United, was sent back out on loan by new boss Steve Bruce in the summer.

And in an interview with TuttoMercatoWeb, former Palermo defender Lazaar has opened up about his time at United, while on a season-long loan at Cozenza.

“Staying at Newcastle would have been like finishing my football career,” said the 27-year-old, who is set to return to Tyneside in May.

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“I would have only been thinking of money, and my parents taught me that a career comes before money. Football is my life. I want to come back as big as I was before going to Newcastle.

“My agent as well as my mental coach were very close to me in a delicate period and together we chose Cosenza. I was one of the leaders at Palermo and ended up on the bench at Newcastle – it’s not easy, especially mentally. Last year I played six months at Sheffield (Wednesday), I wanted to go back to Italy, at home, so I chose Cosenza.

“I don’t have to prove anything to anyone in England. I want to be the best for myself. I want to stay in Italy. Italy raised me, made me feel important. The English experience made me become a man.”