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Jan 26, 2013

Sissoko plays down Vieira comparison

Newcastle new-boy Moussa Sissoko has played down suggestions that he could follow in the footsteps of Premier League legend Patrick Vieira after signing a six-and-a-half year contract at St James' Park.

• Sissoko signs Newcastle deal
• Malbranque predicts 'French problem'

Sissoko, 23, has been compared to Arsenal's midfield great Vieira, but the Frenchman has admitted he has plenty to prove before he can be placed in the same category as his celebrated compatriot.

"It is fantastic to be compared to someone like Vieira," Sissoko told the Newcastle website. "He was a fantastic player, but if I want to be as good then I'll have to put in some incredible performances in every single match, every week.

"I've often said that for me the Premier League is best in the world and it's also a league which corresponds to my style of play. This is where I really want to take the most pleasure from playing. It won't be easy, but it's up to me to work hard so I get everything on my side so I can do my best."

Sissoko admits he was eager to make the next step in his career after spending the last 10 years at Toulouse and he is relishing the chance to join the rapidly increasing clan of Frenchmen in Alan Pardew's Newcastle squad.

"It was really important to move on, to take on a new challenge," he said. "I've been with Toulouse for ten years now so even though I gave 100 per cent in training and during matches, it was quite a comfortable place for me. I was in my comfort zone and I wanted to take on a new challenge and rise to that challenge.

"Newcastle is the ideal club for me to be able to go on and do great things. At Toulouse I had the luck to play in almost every game, but for me it was time to move on to a new challenge and that new challenge was here in England."

Meanwhile, Newcastle boss Pardew has confirmed that captain Fabricio Coloccini will remain at the club until the end of this season, ending speculation that he will return to Argentina during the transfer window.

"Coloccini is going to stay with us and will remain as captain, which is fantastic news for us," Pardew said. "We have managed to persuade him that, as much as his family need him, so do we.

"He has shown fantastic loyalty to continue playing and see us through to the summer at the very least. It's a situation that me and Colo have been on a personal journey, to make sure that he understands that he has a big responsibility here to fans and to families of this club.

"Newcastle has been relegated once before and people lost their jobs here. We need our captain in and around us and I'm pleased to say he has agreed to accept that."