Salomon Rondon has admitted that he would have stayed at Newcastle United this summer instead of moving to China.
The striker followed manager Rafa Benitez to Dalian Yifang in July, with Newcastle breaking their transfer record to sign Joelinton as his replacement.
While Rondon’s season at St James’ Park was relatively successful, ending with 12 goals from 33 appearances, the club opted not to sign him permanently after his loan from West Bromwich Albion.
However, the Venezuelan has now confessed that he would have signed permanently on Tyneside if given the chance.
“In theory I come because Rafa contacts me, he asks me if I’m interested in coming and I of course say yes to the death, I know him, his coaching staff, and well, I think it was an opportunity for me,” he told Todo Fichajes, as translated by Sport Witness.
“I suppose that for him too, it’s a new challenge, we’re talking about a coach who has won almost everything in all the time he has managed and for no one it’s a secret that Benitez is a very important person in the world of football. Rafa gave me the chance, I came, and here I am, quite happy. Simply wanting to improve and keep growing.
“My transfer to Chinese football was somewhat sudden. I would have continued in Newcastle if they had given me the opportunity, but they couldn’t. Now I’m very happy in China, the league is quite different and the language is totally different, but it’s a matter of adapting.
“The impact that the Chinese league is having and the money they’re investing to grow is something that caught my attention. Rafa Benitez gave me the opportunity to come and live this experience and I did not dismiss it.
“The Premier [League] has something that makes all football lovers fall in love. It infects you, it feels like you live a lot of football.
“In my four years there, I’ve felt that for them it’s like a religion. Even at Christmas and New Year games are played, something that doesn’t happen in another league in the world. This shows that English football is pure passion.”
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