Salomon Rondon opens up about his Newcastle United future – after playing final loan game at St James's Park
Salomon Rondon is hoping he hasn’t played his last game at St James’s Park for Newcastle United.
Rondon scored in Saturday night’s 3-2 home defeat to Liverpool.
The striker, signed on a season-long loan from West Bromwich Albion, left the field not knowing whether he will be back next season.
Asked if he had played his last home game for the club, the 29-year-old said: “I can’t answer that question, because you never know what happens in football.
“Yes, maybe it’s my last game here. That would be a shame for my family, because they’re settled here.
“But this is football, sometimes it happens, sometimes you have to decide. It’s out of my hands, and I’ll have to wait.”
On the Liverpool result, Rondon added: “They’re going for the title. It’s just a shame, because our supporters deserved the win.”
Rondon – who has scored 10 Premier League goals this season – wants to stay at the club. And Rafa Benitez, United’s manager, will want to re-sign Rondon if he signs a new deal at St James’s Park.
“I’m really happy here,” said the Venezuela international. “My family’s happy.
“But it’s not down to me. We don’t know what will happen with Rafa as well, so we have to wait.
“Now I have my mind on the Copa America with the national team. After that, we will see what happens.”
Asked what a move to Newcastle would hinge on, Rondon said: “At the moment, I have to wait and see if West Brom get promoted or not.
“This is the first reason. If they’re promoted or not, I have to go back there. And after that, I have to wait.
“I have to see if Rafa stays. There are many things – Newcastle, West Brom, Rafa, me. The only thing I can say is that I have to wait.”
Benitez handed Rondon the coveted No 9 jersey last worn by Dwight Gayle, who joined West Brom on loan as part of the same deal.
And Rondon has bettered his previous-best goal tally in England of nine.
“Many people have spoken about the No 9,” said Rondon.
“I have tried to do my job. Rafa brought me here to do that – to score goals. It’s my best season in the Premier League so I try to do always my best, give everything on the pitch and try to play and help the team.
“I have scored 10 league goals this season now, and I’m really happy for that. When I was at West Brom, it was a difficult situation.
“When we went down, I scored nine goals. But a striker like me, I need players around me like Ayoze (Perez), (Miguel) Almiron, (Christian) Atsu, (Yoshinori) Muto – players that try to play the ball to my feet so I can get the ball and try to score. I’m proud and really happy.”
Rondon would like his future resolved by next month, when the Copa America kicks off in Brazil.
“I would like that, but it’s difficult, because at the moment nobody has signed,” said Rondon. “It’s maybe a difficult time. But the first point for me is wait for West Brom, to see if they get promoted or not. Then go back there and see what happens.”
United’s hierarchy had reservations about Rondon’s age last summer when Benitez asked them to trigger his £16.5million release clause at The Hawthorns.
After that clause expired, Benitez had to sign him on loan.
“I’m a player that has to keep concentrating on the pitch,” said Rondon.
“Things that happen off the pitch ... it depends on the club. For me, I feel really, really proud to be here, to play with the No 9 (shirt).”
Asked if he was getting better with age, Rondon said: “For me, yes. It’s like a wine!
“I try to be healthy all the time. I’m getting older, so I have to work more than the young players, and I always do that. I have to work really hard and do my best.”