Rafa Benitez signing for Newcastle United makes surprise move abroad

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The forward became a popular figure at St James Park during Rafa Benitez’s managerial reign.

Former Newcastle United striker Salomon Rondon is hoping to reignite his career after securing a surprise move to River Plate.

The Venezuelan international enjoyed a productive season on loan at St James Park as he became a firm favourite with the Gallowgate faithful during the 2018/19 season. Rondon joined United from West Bromwich Albion in a bespoke loan deal that saw Dwight Gayle make the opposite journey to the Hawthorns.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

After a slow start to life on Tyneside, Rondon notched his first Premier League goal for the club with a brace in a 2-1 home win against a Bournemouth side managed by current Magpies boss Eddie Howe. He would go on to hit a run of fine form as he played a part in an exciting attacking trio with Ayoze Perez and Miguel Almiron, ending the campaign with 12 goals and seven assists in 33 appearances in all competitions.

However, the striker’s time as a Magpies would be limited to just one season after Benitez departed in the summer of 2019. The duo would be reunited as Rondon worked under the Spaniard at Chinese club Dalian Professional and Everton.

Reflecting on his time on Tyneside, Rondon said shortly after his departure: “It was a beautiful year for me last season. I loved it because the supporters were behind me all the time. 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.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

His departure from Everton was confirmed last month after a disappointing spell at Goodison Park and the 33-year-old has now put pen-to-paper on a deal to join Argentine giants River Plate.

Rondon’s new side made a winning start to their season on Sunday as Ignacio Fernandez and Pablo Solari scored in their 2-0 win at Central Cordoba. The striker will hope to be involved when River travel to Belgrano on Sunday but may have to wait until the following weekend to make his first appearance when Argentinos Juniors visit the Estadio Monumental.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.