Newcastle winger Jonas Gutierrez was offered messages of support from former team-mates and supporters’ groups after revealing he was having treatment following a diagnosis of testicular cancer in his native Argentina.
The 31-year-old midfielder told an Argentinian TV show how he had undergone chemotherapy after having surgery following the discovery of a tumour, which was first noticed in 2013, and expressed his gratitude to well-wishers, saying: “Thanks for all the messages. Always looking forward.”
Gutierrez revealed his battles in an emotional interview with Argentinian TV show Indirecto on TyC Sports.
“When I was told I had cancer, I went home in tears,” he said.
“In May 2013, I felt very tough pains on my testicle. After some wrong diagnosis, an ultrasound detected the tumour.
“I came here and I assumed the costs despite having a contract with Newcastle. Money is not important. What is important is my health. I had to start chemotherapy.”
Gutierrez joined Newcastle from Mallorca in July 2008 and became a fans’ favourite when he played a starring role in helping the club win the Championship in his second season in the north-east.
Former team-mates Joey Barton and Steve Harper were among the the first to offer support, while the Sunderland supporters’ group TFS Sunderland put rivalry aside to say: “Cancer is a horrible thing to happen to anyone, no matter who you support.”
Gutierrez was given the all-clear two months later and made his comeback shortly before Christmas when he captained Newcastle in their 4-1 win over West Ham in the Under-21 Premier League Cup.
He returned to the Magpies’ first team against Manchester United the following year, and scored the goal which completed a 2-0 win over West Ham as Newcastle stayed up on the final day of the season, before being released and joining Deportivo La Coruna in Spain.
Reflecting on his health battle, Gutierrez told the Shields Gazette: “Since I had the treatment the only thing that I was thinking was recovery.
“In those moments, you don’t think about playing football again. Then the doctor says, ‘You are OK, you can start again.’ I started to think, ‘Oh well, let’s see what happens’.”