Ex-Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe opens up about THAT goal against Newcastle, crying on the pitch and catching Thierry Henry

Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring for Sunderland.
Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring for Sunderland.

When it comes to Premier League goals, few have more to look back on than Jermain Defoe.

The former Sunderland striker has scored 162 times in England's top-flight - but, according to the forward, none were better than his stunning volley for the Black Cats against neighbours Newcastle in April 2015.

It may come as a surprise to some just how much that goal meant to Defoe, 36, who has racked up 494 Premier League appearances during spells at West Ham, Bournemouth, Tottenham and Portsmouth, as well as Sunderland.

However, his goal against the Magpies on the stroke of half-time, which secured a vital 1-0 win for the Black Cats in their bid to avoid relegation, reduced the striker to tears.

"I cried on the pitch when that goal went in," Defoe told ESPN.

"I had to cover my face when I walked down the tunnel because of it. Sunderland was special for me.

"Football means so much to the fans up there and that game, I just knew I had to make a difference. As soon as the ball left my foot, I knew it was in, but I think the tears were because of the relief of scoring such an important goal for the club."

Only Alan Shearer (260), Wayne Rooney (208), Andy Cole (187), Frank Lampard (177), Thierry Henry (175) and Robbie Fowler (163) have scored more Premier League goals than Defoe.

And despite playing just four times for Bournemouth this campaign, Defoe still hopes he can catch Henry.

If he hadn't chosen to move to MLS side Toronto in 2014, Defoe believes he would have already overtaken the former Arsenal striker.

"I would've beaten Thierry, yeah, if I didn't have a year with Toronto," said Defoe.

"That just sounds crazy because someone like Thierry Henry, who for me was one of the best players to play in the Premier League -- if I do end up scoring more Premier League goals than Thierry Henry, I think it's going to be really strange.

"People ask me how long I can and want to go on, but when you know you are 12 goals behind Thierry Henry, it means you will carry on as long as you can to go past him. But yeah, it is special to be amongst those names for sure."