Mo Diame has reflected on his time at Newcastle United and discussed his summer exit during a brilliant interview this week.
The 32-year-old midfielder saw his contract expire in June and ended up completing a move to Qatari side Al Ahli, with the Senegalese powerhouse appearing to have secured one final big pay day before he hangs up his boots.
Two months after completing a move to the middle-east, he’s given a wide-ranging interview beIN Sports, discussing his summer exit, Rafa Benitez, a meeting with Mike Ashley and the fact he could have been reunited with former Hull boss Steve Bruce at St James’ Park.
Here’s what he’s had to say, with him firstly explaining why he chose to leave – rather than sign a new one-year extension.
Diame on his summer exit:
“The club decided at the beginning of the year to give me a new contract, after they decide to wait because we were not really well in the table.
“The time did not help us.
“At the end, when they decide to give me one-more year, I prefer and take the decision to leave because I did not want to play another year ending a contract because it is not really good for a football player.
“You are always thinking about injury.“
Diame on Benitez and Bruce – Would he have still been a NUFC player if his ex-boss arrived earlier?
“Maybe, to be honest I had a really good relationship with Rafa Benitez .
“He wasn’t all about Rafa Benitez, he was amazing with me.
“It wasn’t about who was the manger but more about the chairman and Lee Charnley who make the decisions but of course I would have been happy to play under Steve Bruce.”
Diame on meeting with Mike Ashley – Is he at fault for NUFC’s problems?
“It is difficult for me to talk about things I don’t really understand, and I don’t want to judge.
“I met the chairman when we had the dinner with team and he talked to us about his life, and I had a good feeling with him.
“I can’t judge on something I don’t know a lot about, I can’t say whether it was Rafa’s fault or the chairman’s fault because I don’t know.”
Diame on his time at NUFC & the club’s potential:
I really felt that when Rafa arrived at Newcastle , and when he called me to go to Newcastle, he told me he had a big challenge, and big ambition for this club to get it back where it used to be.
For me it’s a massive club – outside of the big four, Newcastle for me is the best club in England.
Now I’m not surprised that NUFC fans are not happy with what is being said.
Newcastle deserve the best but if in the next two or three years they want to get back there – they will have to do something and get names.
It is what every single team at the top is doing – Manchester City, Liverpool even Tottenham now are spending a lot, you have to spend, it is football, the football of today.
We soon learnt that Diame was no longer the dynamic and explosive attacking midfielder he once was when he arrived at NUFC a few years ago, but he turned things around impressively, always showing admirable honesty and becoming a very capable defensive midfielder in his final two seasons at the club.
His experience and ability to provide cover in that midfield area could’ve been invaluable this season, but we wish him all the best out in Qatar!