Achraf Lazaar has opened up about his ‘nightmare’ year at Newcastle United, expressing his disappointment towards Rafa Benitez for the way he was treat during his time on Tyneside.
This time last summer, the Moroccan had bought into Rafa Benitez’s NUFC project, turning down a move to Fiorentina to help Newcastle get back into the Premier League.
A year on and without a single league start in black and white, the left-back secured a deadline day loan move to Serie A side Benevento.
In an interview with Football Italia, Lazaar has since spoken out about his time at Newcastle, opening up about his ‘disappointment’ in Rafa Benitez:
“My signing for Benevento is the end of a nightmare,”
“At Newcastle I never played and over a whole year Rafa Benitez never gave me an explanation.
“All he said was that I was a player more suited to Serie A or the Premier League, rather than the Championship. It’s a shame because he really wanted me.
“ In July last year, I was about to sign for Fiorentina, where the contracts were already ready, when he started calling me relentlessly to convince me to go to Newcastle. They were just words, what a disappointment.”
This is a strange one. I can imagine why the slight Lazaar would be considered a little lightweight for the physical demands of the Championship, but it seems odd that Benitez suggested he was ‘more suited’ to the Premier League, yet allowed him to leave on deadline day – a day we were desperately searching the market for cover at left-back!
Given he turned down a move to Italian heavyweights Fiorentina, Lazaar’s time at NUFC must be difficult to contend with, but it does make you wonder what he was doing wrong to be given such little opportunity.
His loan move to Italy includes an option to buy for £3.5m, so there’s a chance his ‘nightmare’ could be over for good..