Former Newcastle man Henri Saivet: “I wondered if I’d become useless. I thought about quitting.”

In speaking with So Foot, former Newcastle United and Bordeaux attacking midfielder Henri Saivet discussed his meandering career and recent return to form in Ligue 2 with Pau. The now 31-year-old explained:

Do you regret trying your luck in England?
“In terms of football, no. I had fun, I experienced extraordinary atmospheres – St James’ Park is a magnificent stadium and I was able to experience English football. Signing for Newcastle opened doors to big clubs like Saint-Étienne and allowed me to have the opportunity to discover Turkey, to play in a league that I did not know and where I had an exceptional time. My departure even brought my club some money at a time when they certainly needed it, so zero regrets there.”

Was there a time when you lost your self-confidence?
“Often, in these moments, even if the passion for football forces you to keep going, you ask yourself questions. I wondered if I’d become useless… For three or four days, I even thought about quitting my career.”

What made you clear your head?
“I’ve always loved basketball, I played when I was younger. When things weren’t going well with football, it was my escape. A friend of mine is a basketball coach in Mérignac. Every year he plans trips to the United States to see NBA games. I didn’t hesitate to go along, it allowed me to enjoy something else, to make a few baskets with some Americans at Venice Beach. This is probably what convinced me not to hang up my boots.”


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