The curious case of Mo Diame – from Rayo Vallecano stardom to Magpies mediocrity

When Newcastle United signed Mo Diame last summer, I like many other fans had high hopes for the midfielder.

It is fair to say, however, that Mo has failed to hit the heights so far during his time on Tyneside, with United fans hoping for much more from the 29 year-old – who bagged 10 goals from midfield for Hull last season.

We have been speaking to a Rayo Vallecano fan Sarthak Kumar (of, the club where Diame made a name for himself. He paints a very different picture of Diame when compared to fans current views on the midfielder, but the story is a fascinating read none the less.

Without further adieu, here’s the story of Mo Diame – how the little known midfielder became hot property after his rise to stardom in Spain:

My heart belongs to a working-class neighborhood in Spain. So when Chelsea took N’Golo Kanté, the cog that kept Leicester City together, there was a sense of déjà vu for me. It was a reminder of what had happened to my club.

The parallels were all too real. They had Danny Drinkwater – we had 33-year-old club legend and pass master Míchel. They had Christian Fuchs and we had 39-year-old left-back Carles Llorens. They had Kasper Schmeichel and we had David Cobeño. They had Mark Albrighton and we had Jofre. They had Riyad Mahrez and we had Miguel Albiol. They had N’Golo Kanté, and we had Mohamed Diamé. And while each of those players have stories that are worth sharing, the last one sticks
out the most.

In Rayo’s 4-4-2, a 21-year-old French midfielder, who had faced health problems at 19 and was told playing again was risky, was signed from third-tier Linares – where he was a substitute, and who was told by Linares coach Pedro Pablo Braojos that he didn’t have what it took to succeed in the division, became the hottest prospect in world football.

He was a dynamic midfielder with a commanding presence in the air. He could pass and tackle and could cover every blade of grass on the pitch week-in and week-out. His long-range passing helped too, and he could join the attack if need be. He was, in essence, a tank.

Betis, Liverpool, Celtic, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelona were all interested, and Zaragoza were close to a deal, but cash-strapped Rayo ended up selling him and center-back Antonio Amaya for a combined 3.8 million euros to Wigan Athletic.

There are priceless players, and then there was Mohamed Diamé. The season after, Pepe Mel was sacked midway as Rayo forgot to do with Diamé what Leicester forgot to do with Kanté – adequately replace him – and Rayo finished a dismal 11th.

Six years later, deep in north of England, Mohamed Diamé has helped a historic club get back to the top tier.











Diame may not be the player he once was and has admitted to this season being the worst he’s played all his career, but let’s hope he can re-find some sort of form on Tyneside and reignite what once was such a promising career.

What are your thoughts on Diame? Aside from his Rayo Vallecano days, he has looked very a capable player at Premier League level with Wigan, West Ham and Hull. Where has it gone from for Mo? Can he turn it around?

(Fancy having your say? Send any articles/ideas over to us at [email protected] & we’ll get back to you!)

About Olly Hawkins

As a Junior Magpie since birth and season ticket holder, I eat, sleep and breathe all things NUFC! Here at the blog, I aim to bring you news, views, match reports and transfer exclusives as and when I get them.

13 thoughts on “The curious case of Mo Diame – from Rayo Vallecano stardom to Magpies mediocrity

  1. Interesting. Thanks, Olly.

    Hard to figure out why his year’s been so off, in his own estimation. Will be interesting to see if he can get back to his old self again next season.


  2. Betis, Liverpool, Celtic, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelona were all interested, and Zaragoza were close to a deal, but cash-strapped Rayo ended up selling him and center-back Antonio Amaya for a combined 3.8 million euros to Wigan Athletic. 😀

    hes been OK, not as good as I thought he would be but i didnt expect too much for a player from Hull in the championship


  3. Rafa has played him as a number 10 most games this season. It seems from this article that he is more box to box and that we should get a real number 10. Rafa didn’t seem to trust Murphy, Mitro or Perez there and sort of shoe-horned Diame in there perhaps because of athleticism?

    I would give Diame another season as a backup midfielder. We need squad players and he is better than Colback. AND… he hasn’t looked any worse than a certain player we sold for 30 million.


  4. Gash, those stories could have been written by the same journalists who said Barca and Man City were interested in Perez for 15 million 🙂


  5. Eric Sykes:
    Gash, those stories could have been written by the same journalists who said Barca and Man City were interested in Perez for 15 million

    exactly m8.all of these superclubs and he ended up at WIGAN! dont forget Vukic being touted by AC milan etc 😳


  6. Olly, nice article. Maybe, just maybe he’s a premier league player ?
    Some players seem to fit better at certain levels, or maybe he suits the 442 system better.
    Have to be honest and say I’m less than impressed so far though, also I had forgotten he’s 29, thought he was younger.


  7. Here’s wishing Aarron Lennon a speedy return to health. Mental health issues so often overlooked and left unchecked can have devastating consequences .


  8. I hardly ever read the comments on Ed’s blog but I did today. There was a piece of gossip that Ellis Short might be considering walking away from Sunderland. The rumour is supposedly from the Sunderland training ground and it also might be wishful thinking on NUFC fans part.

    I know from reading recently in The Guardian that Sunderland are 150 million in debt. I don’t know who to though. If this is to banks or bond holders, they are well and truly screwed because no new owner would assume that debt. If it is to Short himself he could write it off and walk away. Conceivably a new owner could come in and just have to deal with the 83 million payroll, but have parachute payments so they might be OK.

    If the debt is NOT to Short and he walks away they would be most likely put in administration. As much as we all make fun of the Mackems, I don’t think any of us wants that.

    As I said, this is gossip on Ed’s site. But I have been looking at their finances recently and knew the were in a big mess.


  9. Maybe Lee Ryder could look into it and tell us 5 things he learned? I know the Chronicle mainly deals with NUFC but there are often articles on there about SAF as well.

    Joking aside, I think the Chronicle or Northern echo should be taking a serious look at the Mackems’ finances. I am sure Louise Taylor at the Guardian or Luke Edwards at The Telegraph will be writing something soon.


  10. Diame, like a lot of African players, seems to have aged very quickly and very young (no, not in a rascist sense). I remember Mourinho said that Geremi was 28 with the legs of a forty year old. The lad just seems to be struggling in all aspects of his game. He’s talked about it all season too. Maybe he’s just been tired after getting to the play off finals last year. Whatever the reason he’s been largely **** all season and I can’t see that being any better in the PL.

    Interesting link with Kurt Zouma on loan. I think the squad improvement will consist of a few loanees, taking the pressure off the need to buy 8 top players. Zouma and Loftus Cheek maybe. HBA back on loan?


  11. He’s been a big disappointment for me this season. I expected much more. Hope he has a better season next season.


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