Former Newcastle United striker Salomón Rondon has given a very good interview to Spanish website Todo Fichajes this week.
The 30-year-old left the Magpies this summer, moving to China, where he signed for DL Yifang in a €18.5m deal.
Rondon is now once again managed by Rafa Benitez, who joined the Chinese side just a couple of weeks before the striker’s arrival. That’s why the player was asked about the Spaniard’s influence on the move, although he says that both of them have made their own choices.
“No, I think it’s not a question of who advises who, but Rafa was given the chance to come and me too,” Salomon Rondón told Todo Fichajes.
“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.”
“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.”
Regarding the move itself, Rondón says he would have liked to have stayed at Newcastle if possible, but since the club didn’t want him, he felt the need to move to China.
“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.”
Speaking of his time in the Premier League, where he played for Newcastle and West Brom, Rondón could only praise English football.
“The Premier 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.”