Grateful Gutierrez thanks 'special' fans

Newcastle United midfielder Jonas Gutierrez has hailed the support he received from fans during his battle with cancer.

Jonas Gutierrez has expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all football fans who supported him during his battle with cancer.

The Newcastle United midfielder, who has not played since a loan appearance for Norwich City last May having been diagnosed with testicular cancer, was an unused substitute in Saturday's 1-0 Premier League victory over Aston Villa.

He underwent surgery in September and also had chemotherapy before returning to training in December.

"It's great to be back. I'm really happy about what's happened today," the 31-year-old said.

"The fans at Newcastle are special and not just when I had my illness, and I thank all football fans for their support.

"When you have an illness, you think differently about life. It's a big step to be back with team and at the stadium.

"The most important thing is that the team won and that we played well."

Papiss Cisse's goal late in the first half settled the match in the hosts' favour at St James' Park, the scorer immediately running to celebrate with Gutierrez.