Former Newcastle United flop makes bizarre football return four years after leaving last club

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa arrived on Tyneside for £6.7million in January 2013 but failed to impress at Newcastle United

Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has ended his six-year hiatus from football to join French fifth-tier club FC Itres. While the defender left Lyon in 2020, it has been six years since his last appearance in professional football. Yanga-Mbiwa spent those last two seasons in Ligue 1 on the sidelines as his career appeared to fizzle out.

Still only 34, competing in the lower ranks of France is a far cry from the expectations placed on him a decade ago. Newcastle United stumped up £6.7million to sign the defender from Montpellier in January 2013.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He was part of Alan Pardew’s French pick-and-mix to steer the club away from relegation despite qualifying for Europa League football six months earlier. Alongside Yanga-Mbiwa, a highly-rated centre-back viewed as Fabricio Coloccini’s long-term successor, compatriots Mathieu Debuchy, Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran and Massadio Haidara also arrived on Tyneside.

But Yanga-Mbiwa would struggle to cope with Premier League demands, playing just 46 times for the Magpies. The proposed lengthy career at St James’ Park lasted just 18 months before he was sold to Serie A giants Roma.

Toon fans grew frustrated soon after as he became a stalwart for both Roma and Lyon in the Champions League. Despite failing to realise his potential at Newcastle, Yanga-Mbiwa revealed he still supports the club and watches games when possible.

"I still love Newcastle," he told ChronicleLive two years ago. "I still watch some Newcastle games. I still support Newcastle. When I see the stadium full today, it makes something inside of me excited. It's a good emotion."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After a four-year spell in the wilderness, Yanga-Mbiwa is preparing for another foray into football after signing for French minnows Intres. He kept his clean sheet on debut in a 2-0 win over GC Lucciana.

The former Newcastle flop has revealed he always set out on returning to the game after spending time with his family. Yanga-Mbiwa told reporters: “The project was interesting and I wanted to get back on the pitch. I’m going to bring my experience and transmit it to the young ones. After Lyon, I rested and I made the most of my family and my friends.”

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.