Interviews

Nolberto Solano recalls the day he turned down Liverpool for a return to Newcastle

The Peruvian midfielder tells FourFourTwo how he turned down Rafa Benitez’s Reds to return to St James’ Park

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Nobby Solano featured over 200 times for Newcastle over two different spells between 1998 and 2008, but admitted that his return to the Magpies in 2005 nearly failed to come about. 

The midfielder, who moved from the Toon to Aston Villa in 2004 after falling out of favour in Sir Bobby Robson’s side, was mulling over a return to St James’ Park eighteen months later when he received a phone call from Liverpool.

IN THE MAG

Thankfully for the Geordie fans, a couple of Newcastle legends influenced Solano to rejoin the club in 2005, under Graeme Souness’ management. 

Speaking in the April issue of FourFourTwo, out now, Solano revealed: “I was driving back to Newcastle when I had a call from one of Rafa Benitez’s assistants.

“But I’d already spoken to Alan Shearer and Stevie Harper, who said, ‘You’ve got to come back.’ So that was that.”

The Peruvian admitted that he did not want to leave St James’ Park in the first place when he was pushed out the door to Villa after five-and-a-half years and 172 appearances at Newcastle. 

After an eighteen month spell at Villa Park, Solano was back on the move - but the midfielder still doesn’t regret switching Premier League clubs at the time. 

He added: “To be honest, I never wanted to leave. But at the time Bobby Robson was a little bit funny with me, so I told my agent that I wanted to play football. 

“Villa came in and gave me that opportunity. I had a great time there – I was player of the year in 2004-05.”

Read the full interview with Nolberto Solano in the April 2020 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, out in shops and available digitally from Thursday March 5. Our new magazine reveals the stars of the decade – the 50 wonderkids who'll rule the next 10 years, with an exclusive interview with Erling Haaland, Vinicius Jr, Gabriel Martinelli, Ruben Neves, and Reece and Lauren James – as well as profiles of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kylian Mbappe. We also chat to Steve Clarke and Mick McCarthy and Scotland and Ireland in the Euro 2020 playoffs, revisit the last time Liverpool won the league, and chat to Yakubu and Wes Brown about their careers.