Newcastle's Jonas Gutierrez eager for final farewell

Soon-to-be out-of-contract Jonas Gutierrez wants to thank Newcastle United fans for their support during his cancer battle with a few final appearances for the club.

Newcastle United’s Jonas Gutierrez has told Sky Sports News HQ that he is eager to return to the first-team setup over the remaining months of the season.

Gutierrez, 31, has been building fitness with Newcastle's Under-21s since returning to the North East in the winter after being given the all-clear from testicular cancer, scoring and adding an assist in two 90-minute run outs.

Out of contract in the summer, the Argentine winger looked set to return to former club Velez Sarsfield earlier this month, per the Guardian, but a last-minute move failed to materialise before the close of the Primera Division’s transfer window.

Gutierrez hasn’t appeared for Newcastle since October 2013 after spending the second half of last season on loan at Norwich but, while he is doubtful to receive a new deal at St James’ Park, the popular midfielder still wants the chance to thank fans for their support through helping the team to a positive Premier League finish.

I’m healthy,” he said. “My treatment has finished and I’m training with the team.

“I’m so proud to be back, they have always supported me since my illness and Newcastle have always given me support.

“They stayed with me through a hard moment of my life; my team-mates send me messages and call me to ask how the treatment is going,” he continued. “I was so pleased to get those calls and those messages.

“The treatment was hard. The chemotherapy is a hard treatment but I have a lot of power from the fans and from my team-mates, they always support me.”

Gutierrez has established himself as a firm fan favourite with the Newcastle faithful since arriving from Real Mallorca in 2008, scoring 11 goals in 194 total appearances, while helping the club back to the top-flight following their 2009 relegation.

That in mind, few would begrudge him the chance of an emotional farewell, with 12 fixtures remaining to earn a final outing in the black and white stripes.

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