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“F***ing hell, a player doesn’t want to be injured”: Marcelino defends injury-ravaged Newcastle spell

Marcelino

Much was expected of the Spaniard when he arrived at the Premier League club from Mallorca for £5.8 million in 1999.

However, he made just 22 appearances for the Magpies before being released in January 2003 and his spell in the north-east became synonymous with injuries, as he suffered a thigh strain on his debut before breaking his ankle in January.

“There were other players at the club who had the same problems as me and had long periods out injured but it looked like it was only me," he told The Chronicle.

"When I was injured for three or four weeks and the team lost the game, the newspapers would come out and say: 'Newcastle have lost 2- 0 to West Ham and Marcelino is still at home and injured'. "F***ing hell. A player doesn't want to be injured.

"A player wants to be on the pitch, especially if you're a foreign player. If you go to another country to play football and you don't play football, then you feel awful. That's the worst feeling you can have because you're only there for that reason.

"My honour and my professionalism being questioned was what hurt me the most. I was never asked by the media. This is the first interview and it comes 16 years after leaving Newcastle."

Marcelino eventually returned to fitness for the start of the 2000/01 season, but he snapped a tendon in his finger in August and was told he required another three months on the sidelines to recover.

“I was forcing myself and actively pulling their sleeves on a daily basis saying, 'Hey it's been a month-and-a-half now since my operation and I want to play,'" he said.

"They kept on saying, 'No. We don't want to risk you. The surgeon said it's 12 weeks and we don't want to be responsible for you pulling that tendon again and having to go back to surgery.'

“I wanted to train and be with the team. If you don't play me, fine, but I want to show you I'm fit because this is just a bloody finger."

He added: "I learned that there's no point in remembering the bad memories.

"I wanted to have an experience in the Premier League. I signed for a top club. I thank the fans because for all that was suggested about me, it could have been a lot worse and I found a lot of sympathy. It's that unconditional support that Newcastle fans are famous for."