Fabricio Coloccini not just a guy with wavy hair

FABRICIO Coloccini was in danger of going down as another expensive foreign flop, but he has since been granted the ultimate accolade on Tyneside, reports chief sports writer Luke Edwards.

“Ohhh Coloccini, you are the love of my life, ohhh Coloccini I’d let you s**g my wife, I want curly hair too.”

To the tune of Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, By Andy Williams

Fabricio Coloccini

FABRICIO Coloccini is unlikely to take them up on the offer, he is not even entirely sure of the words to the song in his honour, but he has never had a prouder moment in his career.

Like many a terrace refrain, the lyrics are firmly tongue in cheek, but that does not mean the sentiments are not sincere.

Having been on the receiving end of cruel jibes last season as Newcastle tumbled out of the top flight in humiliating fashion, Coloccini has earned the respect and affection of fans who are always willing to change their opinion of players who strive to improve.

The 28-year-old with the big hair from Argentina’s second largest city, Córdoba, is no longer perceived as an unsteady, expensive foreign mercenary or, worse still, the poster boy of Dennis Wise’s farcical transfer policy.

He has become a popular member of the dressing room, his rapidly improving command of the English language out-stripped by the quality of his defensive performances in a league many believed he would be even less suited to.

Coloccini, who is still more confident speaking with the help of an interpreter, said: “People have said nice things about me this season.

“People have told me about good things in the press, although I do not read them. The manager has been complimentary, and the fans as well.

“That is the most important thing. I can feel the affection the supporters have towards me and it means so much to me.

“I realise from the fans, their reaction, that I am doing well and they are pleased with me.

“I had no idea there was a song about me. Someone told me there was, 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 am 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.

“It gives me a lot of confidence.” Like many foreign defenders, Coloccini initially struggled to adapt to English football.

Thrown into a tempestuous situation at Newcastle as a supposedly marquee £10.6m signing from Deportivo La Coruna, the Argentina international was held up as a symbol of the follies of Mike Ashley and Wise.

Few expected a player earning more than £80,000 a week, with World Cup ambitions, to stick around in the Championship, a division even more direct and physical than the Premier League.

Instead, along with compatriot Jonás Gutiérrez, Coloccini remained to try and repair the damage – and his Newcastle career has blossomed to such an extent he will turn down any offers of a return to La Liga.

Coloccini, emphasising the point by switching to English, said: “If an offer came from La Liga in the summer I would want to stay at Newcastle. Hopefully in the Premier League.

“I am very happy and settled here, and so is my family. I am very pleased with how things are going.

“The language barrier is less. My English is better, I can shout at people now and tell them what to do.

“My form is not down to the fact my English is better, it is just because I am better suited to English football after nearly two seasons at Newcastle. The more I have played the better I have become.

“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 it.

“I have put on three kilograms 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. I had three good years at La Coruna and I was happy there, but I have never been happier than I am now as a Newcastle United player.

“This season has been especially good, the team spirit and the results on the pitch.

“It has been better this year, everything is settled. This is a peak in my career.”

Not that Coloccini is entirely content. He wants to be back in the Premier League and, having found himself on the fringes of his national side – he was not in the squad for this week’s friendly against Chile – he is still clinging to the possibility he will make it to South Africa.

Argentina have had their problems under Diego Maradona, but Coloccini feels they could surprise people in the summer.

He added: “It is my dream to play in the World Cup.

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

“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 against Chile and that was the first time he has played in two or three years. In the last game against Spain I played at right-back.

“I don’t know what is going to happen, but I really hope I can make the squad.

“Nobody knows what the squad will be.

“Only the manager knows who he is going to choose.

“It has been a difficult time for Argentinian football, but hopefully the worst is over.

“We have qualified, which is the most important thing.”

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