Newcastle United have agreed to terminate Club Captain Fabricio Coloccini’s contract so that the player can join his hometown club, San Lorenzo.
The 34-year-old still had a year left on his contract at United but as a new era dawns at St James’ Park, Coloccini services were not required.
Coloccini joined in 2008 from Deportivo La Coruna for £10million becoming Newcastle’s second most expensive defender in history. He went on to make 275 appearances as well as being named Club Captain in 2011 after the departure of Kevin Nolan.
The Argentine made his last appearances in the 5-1 defeat away to Chelsea in February.
NUFC.co.uk released a statement on Tuesday afternoon where Managing Director Lee Charnley thanked Coloccini for his services re-iterating that “it is rare in football to these days that a player gives such length of service to one club”.
Charnley added that the Argentine has “became a firm friend and colleague to many players and staff, past and present, who I know will miss him. We wish him all the very best for his future career.”
The Final Goodbye letter
The long-serving defender wrote an open letter Newcastle fans calling them “life friends” and a “adopted family”.
Coloccini firstly thanked all the staff that have joined him on his journey in the North East saying: “I'd like to make a special mention to those people, because from outside it's easy to just see the football match and the football player without realising the effort and the feeling, the emotion, care and the love that these people put into their work on a daily basis.”
The Argentine admitted he had many high and lows on Tyneside, but he highlighted one massive regret, and that was that he couldn’t win a trophy: “Unfortunately we couldn't lift a title for the club, which is a dream that I haven't been able to fulfil”.
However, Coloccini hopes that another group of players can deliver a trophy for United: “One of the main reasons is that after so many years of trying to achieve a title for the club and not being able to do it, it might be time to let other players arrive with the same drive, impetus and desire as I did years ago.”
Coloccini suggested that at the age of 34-year-old, he is failing to cope with the demands of English football: ”I am 34-years-old now. I feel really well still physically and I am looking forward to carrying on playing football.”
He added that Newcastle “is a city that lives and breathes football” where the fans “deserve the respect from me to come back still with hunger for glory and still physically able to make a contribution and today, thankfully, I have both.” Coloccini believes The Geordies will “understand this point because as a fan of a club I would always want a player to return at their best so that they can be enjoyed by the fans.”
The former Captain ended with: “With mixed emotions of the joy of being able to return home but also the sadness of leaving the most important phase of my career, I'd like to say goodbye for now, forever grateful for the love you have given me and the opportunity to grow as a footballer and, most importantly, as a person.”
Coloccini was brought into the starting 11 for The Magpies’ 2008-2009 season opener at Old Trafford where he played his part in a 1-1 draw, only two days after joining the club.
United started the season well under Kevin Keegan but their good start hit the rocks when he resigned after James Milner was sold to Aston Villa without his consent. Colocinni was struggling to reach his best form in his first season in England. And matters weren’t helped by the Argentine overseeing a further three managers in Joe Kinnear, Chris Hughton and Alan Shearer.
Colocinni claimed in an interview with The Sun that he was shocked by Newcastle’s position in the Premier League as he thought he was joining a club that was competing for Champions League year after year.
Eventually, after Unted’s turbulent season, the club were relegated at Villa Park in 2009.
Bedding in to English football
Newcastle won the Championship in 2009/2010, regaining their Premier League status at the first attempt with 102 points.
The Championship provided Coloccini with a great opportunity to settle in to life in English football. Colocinni performances vastly improved under Chris Hughton where he was ever-present in the Toon Army defence - forming strong partnerships with Steven Taylor, Mike Williamson, Fitz Hall and Zurab Khizanishvili which earned him a place in the Championship Team of The Year.
Colo named Club Captain
The Argentine proved his worth in Newcastle’s first season back in the top flight as he consistently solid performances allowed United to secure their Premier League status with ease.
Colocinni’s instrumental performances were rewarded when hewas named The Magpies’ Captain by Alan Pardew after Nolan’s shock departure to relegated West Ham.
And the defender’s life as Captain couldn’t have started any better as United went on a 10 games unbeaten run at the start of the 2011/2012 season conceding only eight goals in 11 games.
His leadership was invaluable to Newcastle as they secured an outstanding fifth place finish confirming they would be welcoming European football back to St James’ Park once again. And to cap off a remarkable season, Colocinni was named in the Premier League Team of The Year as well as also crowned the North East Football Writers' Player of the Year in 2011.
A year later, Coloccini earned a place in the 2012 PFA Team of The Year.
All the praise Coloccini received in his first season as Captain, slowly turned sour. In 2012/2013, Pardew and Newcastle struggled to cope with playing Thursday and Sunday where they very nearly relegated but a win at already relegated QPR put an end to that fear.
Newcastle performed horrendously in the second half of the season in 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 season where The Magpies only managed to picked up an average of 14.5 points.
Coloccini asked to leave United in January 2013 to return to his homeland as his private life was publicised in the press. The centre-back did stay but he was a part of the side that lost 13 of their 19 second half of the season games in 13/14 seasons including a six game losing streak.
In the summer of 2013, Pardew persuaded Colccini to stay as The Geordies claimed the table after five successive wins. Pardew then left Tyneside for South London in January 2014. John Carver took over and couldn’t prevent fortunes repeating themselves in the second half of 14/15 as they lost 14 games from 20 including an eight games losing run. Newcastle’s disaster was nearly complete on the final day of the season but the win against West Ham meant they would be playing Premier League football for another season.
Newcastle fans suffered the pain of watching their side lose game after game as they sleepwalked to relegation. Fans were demanding answers on why their team was performing so horrifically, however, not once did they receive any answers from their Captain.
The Argentine’s last year
Steve McClaren took over from John Carver as speculation surrounded Coloccini’s future as he was linked with a move away from St James’ Park. But, Coloccini stayed and along the way signed a new one-year contract extension.
Coloccini featured regularly under McClaren before he picked up a calf injury in the 12-day training break in La Manga that would keep him out for the season as the club dropped into the Championship for the second time with Coloccini at the club.