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Perfect XI: Newcastle United hero Nolberto Solano tells FFT his incredible Bobby Robson trumpet prank – and picks his best-ever teammates

Newcastle United legend Nolberto Solano
(Image credit: Getty)

Former Newcastle United midfielder Nolberto Solano had some brass. No, really. 

The trumpet-playing Peruvian Premier League star played for the Toon in two spells, either side of Aston Villa – he also played for West Ham, Leicester, Hull, Hartlepool and Boca Juniors. But as much as we wanted to hear about his most famous colleagues, we wanted to hear about the trumpet pranks he would play on former manager Sir Bobby Robson…

FourFourTwo sat down with him to ask what a team of his best ever team-mates would look like. 

Nolberto Solano's Perfect IX: Nobby picks his best teammates from Newcastle United and beyond…

Nolberto Solano Perfect XI

(Image credit: Future)

GK: Shay Given

“He’s one of the best goalkeepers in Premier League history. Shay went about his job very quietly – he was never showy – and always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. A massive part of that Newcastle side.”

RB: Jorge Soto

“One of the greatest players to represent my first club, Sporting Cristal, and he ended up making over 500 appearances for them over three spells. Jorge won 101 caps for the Peru national team and could play in midfield too – but he’s my right-back.”

CB: Jorge Bermudez

“I played alongside Jorge during my time at Boca Juniors, where he won nearly everything there was to win in Argentine football as well as back-to-back Copas Libertadores [in 2000 and 2001]. He was also part of a really good Colombia team in the ’90s.”

CB: Juan Reynoso

“Another guy who had huge influence within the Peru national team while I was part of it, although he spent the majority of his career in Mexico. Juan was a brilliant defender who popped up with a few goals, which is always handy! He’s gone on to become a top coach, currently at Cruz Azul.”

LB: Rodolfo Arruabarrena

“Arruabarrena was a legend at Boca Juniors with a fantastic left foot. He should have won a lot more than six caps for Argentina, but he’s well known in Spain after spending seven years at Villarreal. He went on to manage Boca for a couple of seasons too, leading them to a league and cup double.” 

CM: Gary Speed

“Many people will remember that Newcastle team for the football we played, and the way we challenged the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal at a time when English football was pretty much a two-horse race. Gary was a big part of that. We all miss him.”

CM: Emre Beluzoglu

“Emre was a very skilful midfielder – I played with him during my second spell at St James’ Park from 2005-07. He was a legend back in Turkey, and Newcastle supporters will always remember him for the outstanding free-kick he scored at home to Sunderland in 2005-06, when we eventually beat our rivals 3-2 in the Tyne-Wear derby.”

RW: Kieron Dyer

“I was very fortunate to play in a Newcastle side blessed with so much attacking talent. Loads of our goals came from Alan Shearer, obviously, but we had pace and skill in midfield through guys like Kieron. He could be unstoppable for us.”

AM: Juan Roman Riquelme

“What a player – he could do something out of nothing for club and country. I played with Juan when he was at Boca Juniors, where he spent so much of his career. He was a young guy coming through when we were together, but it was clear that he was going to become a top, top footballer.”

LW: Laurent Robert

“Another hugely talented midfielder who was at his peak for Newcastle after arriving from Paris Saint-Germain. He was a popular player at St James’ Park and scored some incredible goals throughout Sir Bobby Robson’s time as manager. He could be absolutely lethal for us from set-pieces.”

CF: Alan Shearer

“I always call him a scoring machine, because that’s exactly what he was. Shearer could score goals from absolutely anywhere. I’m really proud to have played a part in quite a lot of his goals! He’s a Newcastle hero and we keep in touch – a great man.”

Manager: Sir Bobby Robson

“It was such an honour to play under him. Mind you, I liked winding him up. I’d play my trumpet in a room at the training ground and he couldn’t work out where all the noise was coming from!”


Craig Bellamy

Flavio Maestri 

Martin Palermo

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