I’m a former Premier League and Champions League star – now I’m slugging it out in fifth-tier in ‘interesting project’

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EX-NEWCASTLE flop Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has made a bizarre return to football… with a FIFTH-TIER club in France.

The centre-back, 34, joined the Magpies from Ligue 1 champions Montpellier for £8.5million in 2013.

Ex-Newcastle ace Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa currently plays in France’s fifth tierAP:Associated Press

Yanga-Mbiwa played for Newcastle, Roma, Montpelier and Lyon

He signed a contract until 2018, but soon fell out with then boss Alan Pardew.

Yanga-Mbiwa made just 46 Toon appearances in 18 months before leaving for Roma.

The France international moved on to Lyon, but hung up his boots after his contract expired in 2020.

However, he has now penned a deal with Istres, who play in National 3 – France’s fifth division.

The defender declared: “It’s an interesting project, and I was keen to get out there on the pitch.

“I will bring my experience, and pass it on to the club’s younger players.

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“After I left Lyon I took a rest, and enjoyed spending time with my family and friends.”

Provence-based Istres are top of their regional division, and pushing for promotion to National 2.

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The southern minnows are based midway between Montpellier and Marseilles.

Yanga-Mbiwa made his debut for them at the weekend in a 2-0 win at Corsican side Lucciana.

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The ex-Newcastle ace played four times for France but never managed to perform in a major competition with Les Bleus.

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