Ayoze Perez knocked back a move to Portugal to follow his dream.

The Spanish striker says that Newcastle were well known when he was growing up in Tenerife and he recalls United playing Barcelona and ‘their big players’.

Ayoze Perez would have only been four years old when Newcastle beat Barcelona 3-2, so presumably he is talking more the 2002/03 vintage under Sir Bobby Robson when he would have eight.

The United forward says that the Premier League was always the best for him and where he dreamed of playing.

Though he admits Newcastle almost missed out on him as he was due to sign for Porto before United’s last minute bid changed everything.

Ayoze Perez talking to The Mirror:

“The truth is that I almost signed for Porto but at that moment Newcastle came and gave me everything I wanted as a person, as a player, everything.

“I always dreamed to play in the Premier League and that made my decision. Porto is a huge club, but I wanted to play the Premier League. It is the best.

“I saw Newcastle as my future because of my dream, the Premier League and the history of the club. Growing up in Tenerife we all knew of Newcastle. I remember them playing Barcelona in the Champions League and their big players.

“In winter there (Tenerife) you would play in 18C. Here it is dark at 4.30pm, it is night, and cold, really cold” But I’ve got used to it and I am really happy.

“I knew I would be around the first team but I thought I would need a long time to adapt, but it wasn’t like that.

“Last season, my first season, was good and gave me a lot of confidence. I was ready for it being a strong tough league, big men.

“Every game at St James Park is special, even in hard moments the supporters are still there. That is most special for me – in football you need that for your confidence.

“When I was young I always played with my friends in the street in Tenerife, every day I tried to get better, step by step. Working hard was key, and nothing has changed.”