FABRICIO Coloccini has committed his future to Newcastle United – and ended 18 months of speculation.
The Magpies captain has long been linked with a move away from St James’s Park.
But the 32-year-old has ended the speculation after discussions with United manager Alan Pardew and United’s hierarchy.
Coloccini has told SportMail he WILL be back next season.
And the news is a welcome lift for under-fire Pardew, whose ninth-placed side beat Cardiff City 3-0 at St James’s Park on Saturday to end a club-record run of six successive Premier defeats.
Asked if he would stay at United, Coloccini said: “For sure. I’m going to be here.”
Coloccini asked to leave Newcastle in January last year and return to his native Argentina, where San Lorenzo were keen to sign him, because of what Pardew described at the time as a “personal issue”.
But the defender agreed to stay on after talks with the his manager and the club.
And Coloccini has now reiterated his commitment to United after coming through a “difficult” period off the pitch.
“I had personal problems,” said Coloccini. “Sometimes it’s 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 want the best for Newcastle United.
“This season we finished top 10, and maybe we will bring some players (in the summer).
“We will try to do well and finish in the top eight, or something like that. We will always try to improve.”
Coloccini and his Newcastle team-mates all but guaranteed a top-10 finish – the club’s objective this season –by beating Cardiff thanks to goals from Shola Ameobi, Loic Remy and Steven Taylor.
While frustrated at the second-half performance, Coloccini admitted the result was all-important after a dismal few weeks.
“It was a good result,” said Coloccini. “We played well in the first half, then in the second half we got the result.
“We needed the points to finish in the top 10, which was our target.”
The game was almost a sideshow to the protests off the pitch aimed at Pardew and United owner Mike Ashley.
Several thousand supporters walked out in the 60th and 69th minutes in a pre-planned protest at the club’s direction under Ashley, Pardew’s managership and the team’s form over the past four months.
“We understand the fans,” said Coloccini. “We know that we didn’t do well in the last two or three months.
“We have to accept that and be honest on the pitch. We have to always give the same – 100 per cent like we did (against Cardiff).”