Newcastle United's top 30 players - Number 26

Newcastle Utd - Gate

We continue our countdown of the greatest 30 players to have turned out for the Magpies.

Following on from 1980s hero Kenny Wharton at number 27, our countdown of the 30 greatest players to appear for Newcastle United continues with a man who was often controversial but undoubtedly talented in his time in the North East.

Signed with a big reputation and for a big fee of £9.5 million in 2001 after scoring 34 goals in 81 games from midfield for Paris Saint-Germain, Laurent Robert became a key member of the successful Magpies side under Bobby Robson in the early 2000s.

The Frenchman quickly made his name as a powerful runner on the left side of midfield with one of the best left feet in the Premier League, able to deliver accurate crosses from out wide as well as create chances for his teammates through the middle.

However, it was perhaps the power of his shot which was the most notable aspect of his game. In his time at St. James' Park he became a fan favourite for his tendency to score spectacular goals, often from at least 25 yards out.

He was also a set-piece expert, deadly accurate from corners and with a free-kick which would frighten any player in an opposition wall due to the sheer power of his strike.

With Robert as an integral part of the team, Newcastle finished in the Premier League's top five three years in a row and qualified for the Champions League in his first two seasons at the club.

However, his career on Tyneside began to decline as he fell out with the management staff under Robson, and his relationship with the club was damaged beyond repair under Robson's successor Graeme Souness when he publicly criticised the Scot and his teammates.

Robert was loaned to Portsmouth in 2005 and then sold to Benfica the following year after scoring 32 goals in 181 matches for Newcastle, and despite his temperament and controversial nature, he remains one of the players whose time in the North East Magpies fans look back upon nostalgically.

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