Salomon Rondon wants to make Newcastle United fans and Alan Shearer even happier – by scoring more goals.
Rondon opened his Premier League account for the club in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Bournemouth.
The on-loan striker netted twice in the first half at St James’s Park.
Alan Shearer, the club’s all-time record goalscorer, would have been proud of Rondon’s second goal, a bullet header at the near post from a superb Kenedy cross.
After the game, Shearer reacted to the goal – and the win – on Twitter.
Shearer tweeted: “Yes big man @salorondon23 what a performance! Loved that second goal. A brilliant 3 points.”
When I was young, I saw Shearer on the TV, and (after the game) we can exchange messages on Twitter. That’s amazing – that’s what can happen in football.Salomon Rondon
Asked about the tweet, Rondon said: “I’ve seen it, and it means a lot to me.
“When I was young, I saw Shearer on the TV, and (after the game) we can exchange messages on Twitter. That’s amazing – that’s what can happen in football.
“You can see the big legends that you’re following, and that’s a pressure for me.”
Rondon’s performance reminded fans of Shearer.
However, the 29-year-old doesn’t want to be compared to Shearer, who spoke glowingly about Rondon on Match of the Day.
“I can never be compared to Shearer, and to play at his high level I have to keep working,” said Rondon.
“He’s a legend here. I have three goals, and he has 206, so it’s important for me to stay focused and to keep working. I do like to make Shearer happy, because I know how big a fan of Newcastle he is.”
Newcastle had dropped back into the relegation zone before kick-off time.
The result lifted the club up to 14th in the table before the international break.
“We’re really happy with the win, and for my team-mates,” said Rondon. “This has to be the start.
“We know what our schedule has been like playing big teams and it’s been difficult. We’ve done really well in the last three games and picked up points. Two wins in a row are important, massive.
“The one thing for us is to keep working, and as the games come, to keep collecting points. To stay up, we have to get wins.”
Benitez worked hard to bring Rondon – who had been sidelined for more than a month with a thigh injury – to St James’s Park.
And the Venezuela international said his goals were a “tribute” to United’s manager.
“Yes, I’m fully fit now,” said Rondon. “I’ve come back from injuries, and you’ve started to see now that I can be fit now the season is running.
“Along with the confidence the gaffer gives to me, these goals are a tribute to him, and that’s important for me.
“I hadn’t scored here, and when you’ve not scored for a long time coming back from injury, it’s important for your confidence to get off the mark.
“This is mostly for the team and for the fans, and especially for the confidence of the team.”
Asked about his header, Rondon said: “Yes, it was special – I could feel the fans enjoying it.
“I know they’re looking for goals from me, and in the past they’ve looked up to people like Alan Shearer and Andy Cole as strikers. The most important thing is the victory, and to keep working and keep fighting.
“I didn’t watch the replay (of the second goal), but I felt the emotion from the fans. It’s important for a striker, because you want to score goals.
“The confidence that Newcastle and the manager gives to me, it helps me to score goals.”
Rondon showed a different side to his game after the break as United clung on to their lead.
Time and again, Rondon, an outlet up front for Benitez’s under-pressure team, shielded the ball and brought others into play.
“It was a different phase of the game,” said Rondon. “We had to defend and we had to be strong and the work for the strikers is slightly different. You have to hold the ball and bring people into play. You can run with the ball, too.
“I have to hold the ball up, that’s my job, to find my team-mates to help them play.”
Newcastle’s fans helped the team play.
“When you’re on the pitch, you can feel it from the stands, with all the fans singing and urging the team on,” said Rondon.
“Every player knows this is important, and we can feed off it. It means that the players, the staff and supporters are all pushing the same way.”
Benitez handed Rondon the No 9 shirt worn by Shearer and the club’s goalscoring legends.
Asked about the pressure which comes with the jersey, Rondon said: “The No 9 is too heavy, especially at this club! Now I have to remain focused – and keep scoring goals.”