Coloccini hails Gutierrez after 'perfect' Newcastle finale

Fabricio Coloccini has paid tribute to friend and team-mate Jonas Gutierrez after his impending Newcastle United departure was confirmed.

Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini has expressed pride at team-mate Jonas Gutierrez's contribution to Premier League survival ahead of the winger's departure.

Gutierrez overcame testicular cancer to return to the first team at St James' Park and signed off his Newcastle career in style with a goal as John Carver's side beat the drop with a final-day victory over West Ham.

The former Argentina international will not have his contract renewed but Coloccini says his friend and team-mate was integral to keeping the club in the top flight.

"I am very proud of him for that moment," Coloccini told the club's official website, with reference to Gutierrez's goal against West Ham.

"In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons we stayed in the Premier League this season was because Jonas was on the pitch in the final game."

Gutierrez took aim at owner Mike Ashley after his departure was confirmed, accusing the Newcastle chief of abandoning him.

However, Coloccini maintains Gutierrez will be remembered as a club great, adding: "Scoring in front of the Gallowgate End in his last game for the club was perfect.

"Jonas has been a great player for Newcastle and someone who has given everything for the club.

"He was here for seven years and that is a long time to be with one team. But this is football and life continues, and I am sure he will do well wherever his next club is.

"The fans here love him because in the worst days he was still here. Jonas stayed at the club in its worst days - when we went down [to the Championship] - and he helped get us straight back up again."