Fans’ favourite Fab adamant he’ll stay

06 March 2010 09:48
LYRICALLY, it is not for the faint-hearted. To the tune of Andy Williams' I Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You, Newcastle United supporters have taken to serenading centre-half Fabricio Coloccini with a ditty that extols the merits of curly blonde hair and invites him to take liberties with their wife.

In a culture as masculine as the football world of the North-East, that's surely as high a bout of praise as you're ever going to get.

I had no idea about the song until a few days ago,

said Coloccini, whose need for an interpreter has lessened significantly in recent months.

Someone told me there was one, but I don't know what the words are. Maybe that is a good thing.

When you are playing, you are concentrating on the game, but I'm so happy they sing about me.

I don't think that has ever happened to me before in my career. It makes me very happy and proud to know that. It is a special feeling. It makes me feel very satisfied and gives me a lot of confidence.

Not, however, that Coloccini has much need for a confidence boost given his performances in the opening seven months of the season.

Derided for his failings as Newcastle tumbled out of the top-flight last term, the Argentina international has been a tower of strength as the club have attempted to regain their Premier League status.

His performances at the heart of the Magpies defence have been uniformly excellent, and for all that the standard in the Championship is significantly lower than the top-flight, it would be wrong to attribute his improvement solely to the reduced demands of his surrounds.

Second-season syndrome is a term that is usually levelled at clubs who struggle in their second season in the topflight, but it also describes overseas players who improve markedly in their second season in the English game.

It applies to Jose Enrique and Jonas Gutierrez Newcastle players who have been much more comfortable this season than last but is most apparent in the case of Coloccini.

After a prolonged, and occasionally painful, bedding-in period, the 28-year-old is finally starting to resemble the £10m player Newcastle thought they had signed when he left Deportivo La Coruna in August 2008.

My English is better, I can shout at people now and tell them what to do, but my form isn't down to the fact my English has improved, said Coloccini. It is just because I'm better suited to English football after nearly two seasons at Newcastle now.

The more I have played, the better I have got. The team is also playing well, and that is a big help for a defender.

Even in the Championship, which is even more physical and direct than the Premier League, I can deal with things now.

I have put on three kilos in the gym, lifting weights. I had to get stronger. The game is very different in Spain, it is slower and less physical. I had to build up my strength to adapt. I am used to it now and I like it.

The only negative on Coloccini's radar is the likelihood of him missing the World Cup finals this summer. Overlooked for Argentina's friendly in Germany this week, the defender faces a race against time if he is to force his way into Diego Maradona's plans.

I've not heard from Diego Maradona recently, but I played against Spain earlier this season and he said he was happy with me and that I had done very well, he said.

I hope I can still make the squad, but I don't know. It is impossible to predict what the manager is going to do.

He played Walter Samuel (in Germany) and that was the first time he has played in two or three years. I don't know what is going to happen, but I really hope I can make the squad. There are lot of trials and nobody knows what the result will be. Only the manager knows.

Whatever happens this summer, though, Coloccini is adamant that he will be starting next season in a Newcastle shirt.

If an offer came from La Liga in the summer, I would want to stay at Newcastle, he said, breaking into English for added effect. And I would want it to be in the Premier League.

Top-flight grounds had better start readying themselves for a chorus or two of Andy Williams.

Source: Northern_Echo