Forgotten Newcastle United flop lands big managerial job in Argentina

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Christian Bassedas only played 24 games for Newcastle United during his stop-start time in the Premier League but could be the next Diego Simeone.

From Daniel Cordone to Facundo Ferreyra – Newcastle United fans have been subjected to their fair share of South American flops, the majority of whom have faded into obscurity, never to be heard of or seen again on English shores.

But Christian Bassedas could be different.

As a youngster the defensive midfielder had impressed with Velez Sarsfield in his native Argentina, racking up a not-too-shabby 267 appearances and 21 goals.

A four-time Primera Division winner (three Clausura and one Apertura titles), Bassedas was also part of the team that captured South America's version of the Champions League, the Copa Libertadores, way back in 1994.

Capped 22 times by Albiceleste and part of the Argentina team that claimed a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics, Bassedas sealed a big money move to Europe with Newcastle in 2000 with the Magpies recruiting the midfielder for just £3.5 million in a deal hailed as a major coup.

It proved to be the beginning of the end for Bassedas' playing career, however, with the midfielder struggling to force his way into the Magpies' first team plans over the next three seasons.

A total of 24 Premier League appearances – coupled with 14 games in La Liga while on loan with Tenerife – followed over the next three years.

On the pitch, he did manage a goal against Chelsea with the midfielder bagging a consolation strike for the Toon in a 3-1 loss.

But by 2003 he was ready to return to Argentina with Newell's Old Boys but the three years at Newcastle had taken their toll and Bassedas eventually opted against returning to the game, retiring after two months of pre-season work.

A career in punditry followed with the midfielder working as a co-commentator for Fox Sports in his homeland before, in 2008, he moved into the role of general manager with Velez Sarsfield.

Over the next few years, Bassedas oversaw numerous big name transfers, with Velez even claiming the Clausura 2009.

But, as time went on, the cracks began to show at Velez and after a season in which the Sarsfield side finished 27th having won just one of their last nine games in all competitions, it was time for a change.

Miguel Angel Russo – who had returned for a second spell as manager earlier this year – resigned, leaving Velez Sarsfield looking desperate and in need of a saviour.

In came Bassedas this week, transitioning from general manager to coach in a move that could yet be the start of big things for the forgotten Newcastle man.

"We're ready to fight every object that blocks our way. We must pick ourselves up and become Velez again," he told Eurosport in the wake of his surprise appointment.

"I dream of seeing the stadium full again and the fans identified with the team... It's been a very tough year but Velez is always Velez.”

Praised for his work as a sporting director at the club, Bassedas will now be looking to impress in the dugout.

Do that and perhaps he will get a second chance at cracking Europe, albeit from a different perspective, and maybe, just maybe he can write some of the wrongs from that spell at Newcastle.

We live in hope.

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