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Rondon: 'When Rafa said goodbye, I felt I would have to say goodbye as well'

The hard-working centre-forward says he was disappointed to leave Newcastle.

 Rondon scored 11 goals for Newcastle last season.
Rondon scored 11 goals for Newcastle last season.
Image: Getty Images

VENEZUELA STRIKER SALOMON Rondon has admitted that he was disappointed to leave Newcastle United this summer and had hoped to stay there permanently.

The hard-working frontman hit 11 goals and registered seven assists en route to winning the Magpies player of the season while on loan from West Bromwich Albion.

And Rondon says he enjoyed working under Rafa Benitez on Tyneside and wished the pair could have stayed, but they have now reunited at Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League.

“It was a beautiful year for me last season. I loved it because the supporters were behind me all the time,” Rondon said.

“I enjoyed playing with the number  9 shirt, I scored goals and the atmosphere at St James’ Park was amazing. Always, I will remember that season.

“Was I disappointed to leave? Yes, because I was waiting for something. I was waiting for Rafa.

“When I went to the Copa America, I thought Rafa would sign for Newcastle. But he didn’t and when Rafa said he was going, my possibility to stay at Newcastle went down straight away.

“Rafa brought me to Newcastle and he fought with the owners to bring me there.

“So when Rafa said goodbye, I felt I would have to say goodbye as well. I understood in that moment I would not sign for Newcastle.”

Rondon also hinted that the reason for Newcastle’s hesitance to sign him permanently had something to with his age – the forward turns 30 later this year.

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“Maybe a few years ago, Newcastle would have given me a contract,” Rondon continued.

“But it looks like the owner’s rule is that, ‘Because he’s 29, when I sell I don’t get more money from what I’ve invested in him’.

“I get that because, for the owner, it is a business.

“But I showed to all of them that even though I am 29, I am still scoring goals, I still assist my team-mates, I am still working really hard, I still feel like a young guy.

“I have had 12 years in Europe and no bad injuries, I try to eat properly, and I am professional.

“When you hear the comments about my age, those people don’t know about football.”

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