Meet Newcastle’s last Champions League side from sex tape star to qualified ref

The stars of Newcastle's last Champions League squad included an international with a sex tape scandal and another who would go on to become a qualified referee.

Their iconic team of 2002/03 defeated Juventus, Dynamo Kyiv and Feyenoord in the first group stage, qualifying in second place behind the Italian giants, but in the second group stage could only manage a third place finish in a tough group also containing Barcelona, Inter Milan and Bayer Leverkusen.

The side who lost 2-0 to Barcelona at home in their final game were the most recent Toon side that played in the competition proper, included notable stars who have lived varied and sometimes controversial lives.

Daily Star Sport have taken a closer look at six of Sir Bobby Robson's European cohort after Eddie Howe guided them back to the top table – including one who stripped to say goodbye.

READ MORE: Newcastle's last CL XI had player who left 'nasty caterpillar cake present' in fridge

Steve Harper

Steve Harper was on the bench at St James' Park as Newcastle slipped out of the competition in the second group phase before the knockout rounds begun.

Shay Given has been ahead in the pecking order at the time, but Harper went on to make 199 appearances for the club before leaving in 2013.

One of few footballers to have earned a referee's license, Harper is also a Football Association-approved official as well as a keen cricket fan.

Kieron Dyer

Kieron Dyer was a key part in the Newcastle team having brushed off a 2000 controversy which showed England stars including the talented but injury prone star in a summer sex tape.

The midfielder went on to make more than 419 appearances in his career as well as play 33 times for his country. He is now taking part in punditry.

Laurent Robert

Laurent Robert made his name as a free-kick specialist at Newcastle after joining from PSG, playing in their fine Champions League campaign.

Robert went on to sign for Portsmouth on loan before signing a permanent deal at Benfica – giving fans a memorable send off.

Having taken off his shirt and shorts, the Frenchman even gave away his boots, shin pads and socks before leaving the playing field.

How far do you think Newcastle will make it in the Champions League next season? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Lomana LuaLua

Lomana LuaLua was on the bench during Newcastle's defeat against a star-studded Barcelona side, going on to play for the club 88 times in total.

LuaLua was in the news later in the year after being fined £175 by Newcastle Magistrates Court – for watching TV without a license.

Craig Bellamy

Craig Bellamy was a divisive footballer during his playing days, notably being involved in a clash with John Arne Riise at Liverpool.

The incident, which took place ahead of another Champions League tie against Barcelona, involved a disagreement over karaoke and resulted in Bellamy taking a golf club with him to the Norwegian's hotel room in Spain for a frank conversation.

The pair made light of the clash with a celebration on the pitch a the Nou Camp.

Nolberto Solano

Nolberto Solano, who was in attendance to see Newcastle return to the top four, dropped down the divisions after his time with the Toon Army.

He played for Hartlepool United in 2011 with the club flogging £100 season tickets, becoming a coach at Northern League side Newcastle Benfield in 2012.

Michael Chopra

Michael Chopra came through the ranks at Newcastle and spent six-years in the first team before leaving for Cardiff.

Back in 2020, Chopra was part of a consortium that tried to buy the club, alongside old skipper Alan Shearer.

Newcastle XI vs Barcelona in 2002/03

Shay Given; Andy Griffin, Andy O'Brien, Titus Bramble, Oliver Bernard; Kieron Dyer, Jermaine Jenas, Noberto Solano; Alan Shearer, Craig Bellamy.

Subs : Steve Harper, Aaron Hughes, Lomana LuaLua, Shola Ameobi, Brian Kerr, Steven Caldwell, Hugo Viana.


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