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Salomon Rondon gives interview to Spanish media about Rafa Benitez, Michael Jordan and where he sees his future

7 months ago
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Ahead of the trip to Liverpool, Salomon Rondon has given an interview in Spain.

Whilst Rafa Benitez, his coaching staff and players such as Joselu and Manquillo are the most obvious Spanish connections at Newcastle, Rondon played four seasons in the top two divisions in Spain with Las Palmas and Malaga, at the start of his career.

So there is plenty of interest over there, in terms of how Salomon Rondon is getting on at Newcastle United.

When asked why he chose Newcastle in the summer, the striker predictably points to Rafa Benitez as the key reason: ‘You hear of a lot of offers that fill you with expectation, but the closest you get is when a coach tells you they count on you and that they want you to come. That’s what happened and it worked out well.’

As for explaining how the manager works, Salomon Rondon declares about Rafa Benitez: ‘He loves tactics. He thinks this is the key and insists that we look at plays well and that we know when to press and when not to.’

Insisting he thrives on pressure and that is why he chose to wear the NUFC number nine shirt, the Venezuelan international was asked whether he would like to stay at St James Park beyond this season, giving an unequivocal reply: ‘Yes, of course. I am very grateful for the effort the club made to bring me in and for the confidence of the coach and the welcome of the fans.’

Salomon Rondon talking to MARCA:

Liverpool on Boxing Day is a bittersweet gift.

“Boxing Day is always special because of the atmosphere with the fans and visiting a stadium like Anfield is always nice. They are really strong and have a lot of confidence because nobody has been able to beat then. Although we know the difficulty, we go in with the mentality of giving our best and of trying to get a positive result.”

You’ve just scored four goals in seven matches and have been chosen as the player of the month at Newcastle. How does that feel?

“I feel really good. I’m really happy here for what we’ve achieved collectively. That’s the important thing. We have been in good form and have moved away from the relegation zone. I have done my job by contributing with goals.”

Last year you scored in seven different matches with West Brom, but didn’t win any. This year you’ve given seven points to Newcastle. It’s quite a change.

“It’s quite a big contrast. The difference in styles between one team and the other is reflected in the play. A striker likes to have chances and to get crosses into the area.”

You had a number of potential landing spots. Why Newcastle?

“You hear of a lot of offers that fill you with expectation, but the closest you get is when a coach tells you they count on you and that they want you to come. That’s what happened and it worked out well.”

What does Rafa Benitez ask from you?

“To work hard and to hold up the ball for the team to come out playing. The things that a No.9 needs to do in the Premier League because of the physical nature of the play. He wants that and for me to make the most of the chances I have in attack.”

You’ve had many interesting coaches. What does Benitez have?

“He loves tactics.

“He thinks this is the key and insists that we look at plays well and that we know when to press and when not to.

“He also works well in statistics.

“Modern football relies on numbers and percentages and this offers a lot of tools. He has coached huge teams and has won the Champions League and Europa League.

“People know the level he is at as a coach.”

You had worn the No.23 of Michael Jordan. Why the change to No.9?

“This was a strange story. The No.23 and No.9 were both free. One of the people who closed the deal told me that the No.9 was special at Newcastle because of Shearer, who is the top scorer at the club and in the Premier League. I was told things would go well if I dared to wear it and that’s what’s happened.”

Isn’t it too much pressure?

“It is a lot, but it’s a pressure that I like. I work well under pressure because that’s when the most is demanded of you and it obliges you to give your maximum.”

Have you met Shearer?

“We exchanged a tweet or two, but I’ve not personally met him yet. I’d love to. Not just because of what he was at Newcastle, but because of what he represents for football.”

Your tally of nine Premier League goals in 2015/16 was your best. Can you do better than that?

“Yes. Every year you have a goal of doing better than in previous years. Despite the injury I had, I have been doing quite well and I hope to reach double figures.”

You’re on loan from West Brom. Would you like to stay?

“Yes, of course.

“I am very grateful for the effort the club made to bring me in and for the confidence of the coach and the welcome of the fans.

“For all these reasons I’d like to continue but we’ll see what happens.”

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