Former full-back reflects on ‘great’ Newcastle United spell after shock early retirement

The former Inter Milan defender announced his retirement on Friday.
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Former Newcastle United star Davide Santon has reflected on his time on Tyneside following his surprise retirement.

The Italian full-back joined the Magpies from Serie A giants Inter Milan in a deal believed to be worth around £3.5million in August 2011.

Tasked with replacing Jose Enrique following his acrimonious departure to Liverpool, Santon took his time to settle but quickly became an effective part of Alan Pardew’s side as they exceeded all expectations during his first season at St James Park.

With fellow summer additions Yohan Cabaye and Demba Ba hitting form, and January signing Papiss Demba Cisse hitting form immediately, the Magpies narrowly missed out on a Champions League place but did secure Europa League qualification with a fifth placed finish.

Santon helped United reach the quarter-final of the Europa League before Benfica ended any hopes of bringing silverwate back to Tyneside and eventually departed returned to Inter in January 2015 before ending his career with a four-year spell at Roma.

However, he announced he was bringing a close to his playing career at the age of just 31 on Friday after failing to make any appearances for Jose Mourinho’s side last season.

Reflecting on his four-year stay with Newcastle, he said: “I went there. I almost didn’t want to, but once I was there, I didn’t want to return.

“Then the offer from Inter arrived, and I came back, but I had a great time in England. The environment around you, to play, is the best ever.

“Every time I go to England, when I can, I go to the stadium to see it. The Toon Army is fantastic, when we played there, there was an extraordinary serenity.

“When we were playing at home: lunch was optional. The meeting at the stadium was at 1.15pm for the match at 3pm. It was an environment that gave me peace of mind and it was the period where I was physically better.”

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