Belfast Telegraph

Gutierrez given messages of support

Newcastle winger Jonas Gutierrez has been offered messages of support from former team-mates and supporters groups after revealing he is having treatment following diagnosis of testicular cancer in his native Argentina.

The 31-year-old midfielder told an Argentinian TV show how he has undergone chemotherapy after having surgery following the discovery of a tumour, which was first noticed last year, and expressed his gratitude to well-wishers late on Tuesday night, saying: "Thanks for all the messages. Always looking forward."

Former Newcastle team-mate Joey Barton, now at QPR, took to Twitter to post his support to Gutierrez.

"Heard the terrible news about Jonas. Wish him a speedy recovery. Great guy with a great family. My thoughts are with them all," Barton posted on the social media site.

Denmark forward Peter Lovenkrands, who played at Newcastle from 2009 to 2012, also spoke of his concern for Gutierrez. He said on Twitter: "Can't believe the news about my good friend Jonas. Testicle cancer. I wish you a speedy recovery my friend. #SpiderMan #Nufc"

Former Magpies goalkeeper Steve Harper added: "Buena suerte a mi amigo Jonas with his battle with testicular cancer. Great lad and teammate who always gave 100% for the Toon shirt."

Gutierrez joined Newcastle from Mallorca in July 2008 and became a fans' favourite when he played a starring role in helping the club win the Championship in his second season in the north-east.

However, he was largely unused by manager Alan Pardew last season and was allowed to join Norwich on loan for the second half of the campaign, where he made his last league appearance in the Canaries' 1-0 defeat to West Brom in April.

Newcastle supporters have suggested a minute's applause could be held during the 18th minute - representing the players' shirt number - against Hull.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which was set up in a bid to help the on-going fight against cancer, offered their support.

"NUFC's Jonas Gutierrez has announced he's receiving treatment for testicular cancer. Our very best wishes are with you Jonas."

Sunderland s upporters' group TFS Sunderland also offered support. "Thoughts go out to Jonas Gutierrez after hearing the news he's battling testicular cancer. there's more to life.... Cancer is a horrible thing to happen to anyone, no matter who you support."

Newcastle are expected to make an official club comment later on Wednesday.

Gutierrez revealed his battles in an emotional interview with Argentinian TV show Indirecto on TyC Sports.

"When I was told I had cancer, I went home in tears," he said.

"In May 2013, I felt very tough pains on my testicle. After some wrong diagnosis, an ultrasound detected the tumour.

"I came here and I assumed the costs despite having a contract with Newcastle. Money is not important. What is important is my health. I had to start chemotherapy."

Gutierrez, who has made 22 appearances for his country, h as admitted several national colleagues, including close friend and Newcastle team-mate Fabricio Coloccini, have been a great help.

He added: "This is the most difficult match I've every played. You start thinking about important things when you have problems like this one.

"Some guys like (Gabriel) Heinze gave me strength.

"After surgery, I told (Ezequiel) Lavezzi, (Martin) Demichelis and Coloccini, who is very close to me. We've played together at Newcastle for six years and he calls me. He is almost a member of my family.

"I decided to reveal all this because I think this is a difficult moment, but there is nothing wrong with this. These things may help other people."

In an official club statement on Wednesday night Newcastle also offered support for the midfielder, revealing they had known about his illness for a while.

"Newcastle United can confirm that winger Jonas Gutierrez is continuing to receive treatment in Argentina after being diagnosed with testicular cancer," the statement read.

"The club has been aware of Jonas' condition for some time but has respected his wish for privacy as he undergoes treatment with his friends and family around him."

Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley added: "We have and will continue to offer Jonas our full support.

"We thank our fans for their kind messages of support for Jonas and the thoughts and best wishes of everyone connected to Newcastle United are with him at this time."

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