The returning midfielder lavished praise on his fellow Argentine after being made captain upon his entrance during the Manchester United defeat.
Jonas Gutierrez has told BT Sport that he will never forget the reception he received after making his Newcastle United comeback, and also thanked close friend and compatriot Fabricio Coloccini for handing him the armband upon his introduction.
Gutierrez, 31, had 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, before making his return to the bench for the weekend’s 1-0 home win over Aston Villa.
The Argentine winger didn’t manage to see the field against the claret and blues, but the St James’ Park crowd finally got to witness his playing return in Wednesday night’s clash with Manchester United, when he replaced Ryan Taylor at left-back in the 65th-minute for his first appearance for the club since October 2013.
Immediately handed the captaincy by regular skipper Coloccini after his standing ovation, the Toon hero couldn’t hide his delight in the post-match interviews, and continued to stress how thankful he remains for all the support he received during his illness.
“I will remember for the rest of my life the reception,” he said. “I’m really happy with the reception and the support the fans gave me and the support through the illness.
“It was really important to have that type of support and I’m very happy to be back.
“The reception I’ve got has shown that fans around the world can unite no matter what shirt they wear.”
On Coloccini’s gesture, he added: “I have a really good relationship with Colo. We’ve been together seven years at the club and with the national team as well, and he’s a great friend and like part of my family.
“For him to give it to me means a lot to me. I’m so happy to have him as a friend.”
The result on the night was nevertheless a frustrating one for Newcastle, as a spirited performance couldn’t prevent them from falling 1-0 to United after a last-gasp Ashley Young strike.
“Yes, very frustrating, but when you play against these types of team you can’t make mistakes because you’ll concede goals,” Gutierrez continued.
“We tried to do our best to get the result so to lose at the end is hard, but we knew before that we have to concentrate for 90 minutes.”
Gutierrez has established himself as a firm fan favourite with the Newcastle faithful since arriving from Real Mallorca in 2008, scoring 11 goals in 195 total appearances, while helping the club back to the top-flight following their 2009 relegation.
The World Cup veteran is out of contract in the summer and, while is not expected to receive a new deal, he at least now has the chance to see out his Magpies career on the pitch over the final stretch of the campaign, in what’s set to prove an emotional farewell.