FABRICIO COLOCCINI has ruled out a summer move away from Newcastle United and insisted he will still be skippering the club next season.
Coloccini’s future has been the subject of considerable uncertainty since he failed to force through a return to his native Argentina in January 2013.
The 32-year-old returned to his homeland citing “personal issues”, but his former club, San Lorenzo, were unable to put together a package to sign him and Newcastle officials insisted that he returned to Tyneside to see out a contract that is not due to expire until the summer of 2016.
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Coloccini also returned to Argentina this spring to complete his recovery from a knee injury, with his trip sparking further speculation that he would attempt to engineer a permanent move to South America this summer.
However, with his personal problems now resolved, the defender is adamant he remains as committed to Newcastle as ever, and has ruled out a summer switch from St James’ Park.
“I am going to be here,” said Coloccini. “I had personal problems. Sometimes it is tough. You have to decide between the problems and the work.
“Sometimes, it’s too difficult. Now, it’s finished and next season I will be here. I’m looking forward to improving – we all want the best for Newcastle United.”
With Crystal Palace unable to finish any higher than 11th after Monday’s 3-3 draw with Liverpool, Newcastle are guaranteed to end the season in the top half of the table.
A scheme set up by former director of football, Joe Kinnear, means every club employee will now receive a bonus for Newcastle finishing in tenth position or higher.
As manager, Alan Pardew will be eligible for the bonus payment, something that is not likely to go down well with the supporters who agitated for his departure at the weekend, and the club’s players will also benefit despite their struggles in the second half of the season.
This will only be the third time in the last ten seasons that Newcastle have finished in the top half of the Premier League, but Coloccini claims there is a shared desire to ensure that there is a marked improvement next term.
“This season we finished top ten, and maybe we will bring some players (in the summer),” he said. “We will try to do well and finish in the top eight or something like that. We will always try to improve.”
* Newcastle’s final game at Liverpool on Sunday has been selected as one of the games that Sky Sports will televise live.