Wed 4 Oct 2023, 17:49 · NUFCFEED

NUFC cult hero says the Magpies "have to be in Europe every season" to be considered a "big team"

NUFC cult hero says the Magpies "have to be in Europe every season" to be considered a "big team"
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Magpies cult hero Yohan Cabaye says that his former club need to be competing in Europe every season to be considered a big team on the continent.

Cabaye thinks NUFC's potential is massive

Speaking to George Caulkin in The Athletic, the French midfielder had plenty of kind words for Newcastle too, though, and seems excited to be returning to St. James' Park for the first time since 2017 when he was a Crystal Palace player.

"Yeah, I’m glad to see Newcastle at the top, under the lights, in Europe, in England. I can see that the new ownership is working well.

I had the chance to meet Dan (Ashworth, the sporting director) at the Champions League draw in Monaco. I know they are going the right way. It could have been easy to spend money after money on players that don’t fit the project. They are doing well and I’m glad to see that.

And to see St James’ with 52,000 (fans at) every game, screaming; this stadium is so loud. I’m really happy to see that. For me, the question is hard because going back to France after Newcastle was to play for the best team in France, and one of the best in Europe. It’s hard to compare those two projects. What I want to say is that I’m really glad to see Newcastle doing good things in England and in Europe.

It’s been 20 years without the Champions League and if the club wants to be a big team in Europe, they have to be in Europe every season to gain experience and also to have the chance to bring better players in and improve the squad season after season. But they have the potential, for sure.

I’m receiving a lot of messages on social media and they are all kind. They (the Newcastle fans) are all happy to see PSG coming to town. I think the reception will be great."

He led the "French revolution" on Tyneside

Cabaye also discussed his own very different era at St. James' Park, which did have its share of high points under the management of the controversial Alan Pardew.

"It was different at that time, a different project. We played to qualify for the Champions League, I think the last two games we could have qualified, but unfortunately, we lost them. ‘Pards’ and his staff did their best to bring the team as high (as they could) in the league.

We got to the quarter-finals (of the Europa League) against Benfica and we were close to beating them. We had a very good season in Europe, but the Premier League was difficult because we didn’t have the squad to compete. We tried our best, but it wasn’t easy. The squad wasn’t big enough.

I can’t wait to be there on Wednesday. I can’t wait to come back. Except (the two games in April 2016 and October 2017) with Palace, it’s going to be the first time that I have come back to St James’.

I know my colleagues from Paris don’t know about the atmosphere! For sure, it will be one of the best nights ever in Europe. I cannot wait. I can’t wait to see familiar faces too, some people who worked there at the club."

While he left the club under a cloud, Cabaye always gave everything on the pitch for the black and white shirt.

Arguably up there with the very best central midfielders to have played for Newcastle in the Premier League, it'll be nice to see him back at St. James' Park tonight.

Still, we hope he leaves dejected after seeing his colleagues take a battering from Eddie Howe's mighty Magpies.