Newcastle flop returns to soccer after SEVEN years away

  • In 2013, Newcastle signed 5 gamers from France’s Ligue 1 in only one window 
  • One star disappeared from soccer at 27, however has returned in France’s fifth tier
  • CHRIS SUTTON on sledging, expletive stand-offs and on-field verbal jousting – It’s All Kicking Off podcast

Back in 2012 – simply three years after being relegated from the Premier League – Newcastle completed fifth within the prime flight to safe a return to European soccer.

It was a seismic achievement for the membership who had been floundering beneath proprietor Mike Ashley for years, however backing it up was at all times going to be a problem with such a skinny squad.

Magpies boss Alan Pardew wanted to dip into the switch market to bolster his crew, and with the assistance of chief scout Graham Carr – father of comic Alan Carr – Newcastle opted for a French Revolution.

Having introduced in Romain Amalfitano from Stade Reims in July 2012, Newcastle absolutely dedicated to their French mission within the following January window by bringing in no fewer than 5 gamers from Ligue 1.

In got here Moussa Sissoko, Mathieu Debuchy, Yoan Gouffran, Massadio Haidara and centre again Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (back right) was part of Newcastle's French revolution during 2013

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (again proper) was a part of Newcastle’s French revolution throughout 2013

He signed for £7m after winning Ligue 1 with Montpellier a little over six months earlier

He signed for £7m after successful Ligue 1 with Montpellier slightly over six months earlier

However, he recently turned his back on football, having left Lyon more than three years ago

However, he not too long ago turned his again on soccer, having left Lyon greater than three years in the past

Not an amazing deal was recognized concerning the quintet as they arrived in England, however Yanga-Mbiwa was considered as an thrilling prospect, having gained Ligue 1 with Montpellier slightly over six months earlier.

He had additionally made his France debut in September 2012, and touchdown a 23-year-old worldwide for £7m halfway via the season appeared like good enterprise for Newcastle.

Yanga-Mbiwa swiftly went into Newcastle’s beginning XI and guided the crew away from the specter of relegation after a troublesome begin to the season, with Pardew’s males ending 5 factors away from the underside three.  

Could he construct on his early promise?

Not actually. Yanga-Mbiwa made 23 league appearances in his first full season at St James’ Park however struggled to persistently maintain down a spot within the facet. 

Newcastle completed in mid-table, however Yanga-Mbiwa had began to fall down the pecking order, and he was shipped out on mortgage to Serie A outfit Roma in September 2014.

Four months later, the transfer was made everlasting, because the French defender departed Tyneside after taking part in simply 46 occasions for Newcastle. 

His time in Rome noticed him play Champions League soccer, and he even clashed with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi throughout a pre-season pleasant, however it proved to be a short-lived keep within the Italian capital.

Yanga-Mbiwa spent one year in Serie A where he played for Italian giants Roma

Yanga-Mbiwa spent one yr in Serie A the place he performed for Italian giants Roma

He clashed with Lionel Messi during a pre-season friendly in one of his last games for Roma

He clashed with Lionel Messi throughout a pre-season pleasant in certainly one of his final video games for Roma

Less than a yr after becoming a member of the membership, he was bought to Lyon. 

Returning to his homeland to play for certainly one of France’s prime golf equipment, it appeared Yanga-Mbiwa had an actual alternative to kickstart his profession as soon as extra.

And he featured commonly in his first two seasons, with Lyon ending second and fourth, respectively, in Ligue 1.

But after making simply two appearances within the first half of the 2017-18 season, Yanga-Mbiwa missed out on the squad for almost all of the marketing campaign, and he was simply restricted to a handful of reserve video games as he noticed out the ultimate days of his contract earlier than strolling away from the game in 2020.

His final senior outing got here in November 2017, and that the final we might ever see of Yanga-Mbiwa on a soccer pitch.

Until now.

Yanga-Mbiwa moved to Lyon in 2015, and they finished second to PSG in his first season

Yanga-Mbiwa moved to Lyon in 2015, and so they completed second to PSG in his first season

He featured regularly for the team in his first two seasons, but then fell out of favour

He featured commonly for the crew in his first two seasons, however then fell out of favour

Yanga-Mbiwa played his final senior game for Lyon in 2017, but stayed until his contract expired in 2020

Yanga-Mbiwa performed his remaining senior sport for Lyon in 2017, however stayed till his contract expired in 2020

Aged 34, he has made a shock comeback by signing for French fifth division membership Istres.

The little-known crew are primarily based in southern France, and as soon as performed in Ligue 1 in 2004-05, solely to be relegated after only one season.

They final featured in Ligue 2 in 2014, however have been relegated all the way in which all the way down to the seventh tier on account of monetary points the next yr.

They have since began to work their approach again up, and have completed sufficient to tempt Yanga-Mbiwa to place his boots again on.

Explaining his determination to successfully come out of retirement after seven years away from senior soccer, Yanga-Mbiwa stated: ‘The mission is attention-grabbing and I wished to get again into the sphere. I’ll carry my expertise and go it on to younger individuals.’

When requested what he had been doing to maintain himself busy lately, he added: ‘After Lyon, I rested and loved my household and mates’.

Yanga-Mbiwa went straight into Istres’ beginning line-up on Saturday once they picked up a 2-0 away win at Lucciana.

Yanga-Mbiwa's Instagram suggests the defender has kept himself in good condition in recent years

Yanga-Mbiwa’s Instagram suggests the defender has stored himself in good situation lately

He has now returned to play in France's fifth division for Istres after seven years away from senior football

He has now returned to play in France’s fifth division for Istres after seven years away from senior soccer

That victory means Istres at the moment are 4 factors clear on the prime of the Championnat National 3 Group A desk with a sport in hand on their closest rivals.

Yanga-Mbiwa might now be pivotal to their promotion push, as they goal to maneuver again in the direction of France’s prime divisions.

It has been some journey for Yanga-Mbiwa, from turning into a Ligue 1 champion at 23, to taking part in within the Premier League, Serie A and the Champions League, solely to vanish when most gamers can be coming into their prime.

But he’s again, and now has the possibility to show he nonetheless has loads left to supply.