Cabaye happy with Newcastle exit as Champions League quarter-final beckons

EURO STAR: Yohan Cabaye is in the PSG squad that faces Chelsea in Champions League this evening

EURO STAR: Yohan Cabaye is in the PSG squad that faces Chelsea in Champions League this evening

First published in Sport
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The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

YOHAN CABAYE claims Paris St Germain’s action-packed end to the season is already justifying his decision to leave Newcastle United for the French capital in January.

Cabaye is in the PSG squad that will face Chelsea in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final at the Parc des Princes tonight, having scored in the previous round as the French league leaders thrashed Bayer Leverkusen.

With PSG boasting a 13-point lead over Monaco at the top of Ligue 1, Cabaye is set to finish the season with a league winners’ medal to his name. He could also be celebrating success in the Coupe De La Ligue, with PSG due to face Lyon in the final.

Since the 28-year-old left Tyneside, Newcastle’s form has disintegrated, with the Magpies losing six of their ten matches without him in the team.

PSG, on the other hand, go from strength to strength, and having pushed through a return to his homeland in order to further his career, the midfielder is understandably delighted with the move.

“I really liked playing in another league and discovering a new culture,” said Cabaye. “Playing in the best league at the moment, it was a real discovery for me. I loved it, I enjoyed it a lot.

“The supporters were great too, but when a club like PSG wants you and does everything to have you, it’s difficult not to accept it. It allows me to come and play to win titles like the French league. We’re in the League Cup final and of course we’re still in the race for the Champions League.

“For a football player, these are very important decisions to make. For me, I didn’t hesitate in coming here.”

Cabaye was part of the Newcastle team that beat Chelsea 2-0 in the first half of this season courtesy of goals from his compatriots Yoan Gouffran and Loic Remy.

The former Lille midfielder was also playing when Newcastle beat Chelsea 3-2 in February 2013, and was on the field when Papiss Cisse’s wonder goal secured a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge in April 2012.

He was in the starting line up as PSG won 1-0 at Nice at the weekend, and will hope to retain his place for tonight’s quarter-final opener in Paris.

“We will need to stay focused and show a lot of respect to their team,” said Cabaye, in an interview on UEFA’s official website. “It will be the first real test for PSG this year in European competition, so we are motivated.

“In the end, the objective is to qualify for the semi-final. We expect two tough matches and it won’t be easy, but we are ready to put in the necessary effort.”

In Cabaye’s absence, Newcastle are already planning for next season, and this summer’s pre-season preparations will include an appearance in the inaugural Schalke 04 Cup in Germany.

The Magpies will travel to Gelsenkirchen over the weekend of August 2-3 to join Schalke, Spanish side Malaga and another team who are still to be confirmed.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to play in such an excellent tournament as the Schalke 04 Cup,” said Newcastle boss Alan Pardew. “We will be facing top-quality opposition and hopefully it will form part of a successful pre-season for us ahead of the 2014-15 season.

“I am very pleased it has been organised and announced early for the sake of our fans. This will give them the opportunity to travel in great numbers - as they always do - to enjoy a fabulous city and the football that will accompany it.”

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