Ayoze Perez reveals what has has made him 'proud' at Newcastle United
Ayoze Perez has told of his pride after moving up Newcastle United's Premier League goalscoring chart.
Perez netted a hat-trick in Saturday's 3-1 win over Southampton.
The result, and Cardiff City's defeat to Liverpool yesterday, has ensured another season of top-flight football at St James's Park.
Perez, now on 31 Premier League goals, moved up to ninth, and above Gary Speed, Obafemi Martins, Craig Bellamy and Demba Ba, in the club's Premier League goalscoring chart, which is topped by Alan Shearer (148).
If Perez stays at United, he could conceivably catch second-placed Peter Beardsley, on 46 Premier League goals, well before the end of his present contract, which runs to 2021.
“I still have to realise I'm in that list, man," said the 25-year-old, who admitted after the game that he will have a "difficult decision" to make in the summer.
"Such a big club, such a tough league. And to be able to be on that list is something I still have to realise. It's something I need to think about, because it's something to be proud of and something very big for myself that I couldn’t even imagine when I signed that I could achieve, and I did, and the way I did.
"It was an amazing afternoon for the team and for myself.”
Perez is now the club's leading league goalscorer ahead of on-loan Salomon Rondon with 10 goals.
On Rondon, Perez said: “It means a lot. He has been fantastic for us. You don’t know how much he gives us as a team, the people around. He's a great striker and a great person as well. Obviously, I need to thank him for the assist (for the second goal) as well, but he has been outstanding this season.
“It's not a battle between us. You see he had the option to give me a goal. If I have the chance, I'm going to give it to him. It's a good relationship, and that’s what football is about."
Perez, signed from Tenerife as an unknown five years ago, left St James's Park proudly clutching the matchball.
“I will get it signed by my team-mates in the next training day," said the former Spain Under-21 international. "And I'm going to keep it in a special place at home."