Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimaraes has insisted he wants to become a legendary figure at St James’ Park.
Guimaraes is in line to return from suspension to face Manchester United at Wembley in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final as Newcastle look to win their first major trophy since 1969 – the old Inter Cities Fairs Cup.
The Brazilian midfielder has been nothing short of outstanding since arriving from Lyon just over 12 months ago. He arrived looking to help Newcastle stay up, but is now preparing for a cup final and he clearly does not see this as being a one-off.
Speaking to The Players’ Tribune, he said: “I hope to be a legend here. I know that this club can be one of the giants. It starts this weekend.
“Win or lose, we’re back at Wembley, and I know how special it is for the fans.
“It’s funny, but when I had the opportunity to move to Newcastle last year, I remember a lot of people telling me, ‘You’re crazy. This could be a disaster for you. They’re going to get relegated. You’ll never make the World Cup squad if you move there’.
“At the time, Newcastle were third to last in the table. Everyone knew we were in trouble. But any time someone asked me what my dream was, from the time I was 15, I always said it was to play in the Premier League one day.”
Guimaraes feels at one with Newcastle-upon-Tyne particularly following the birth of his son there back in October, revealing his surprise at his experiences on Tyneside.
“So I chose to come to Newcastle. But I have to be honest and say that never in a million years did I expect THIS experience. No, I would be lying to you if I said I would love it this much, and for the fans to have embraced me and my family like this,” he continued.
“When I got here, my mission was just to get us safe. I remember we were winning, winning, winning, but we’d look at the table and it was like we were stuck to the bottom with glue. We would still never move up from 18th.
“Then we played Leicester City at home, and for me this was probably when I fell in love with Newcastle.
“I scored the two goals in the match, and they could not have been more different – more me. The first one was a goal from the streets of Rio. The keeper bobbled the ball when he fell on it, and I didn’t hear the whistle, so I just kept kicking and kicking until it popped out of his hands and rolled across the line.
“And then the second goal, in the 95th minute…. All I can tell you is that, when the Newcastle fans are really on fire, like they were that day, you simply don’t get tired. I don’t know the science behind it, but you can just keep running forever. We got the ball in our own half, and I ran the whole length of the pitch, and when I saw the ball floating in the air, I took an old trick from my mom’s swimming lessons. I dove in the air like a dolphin, brother.
“I headed the cross in and then I heard the roar from the fans, and it was goosebumps. I ripped my shirt off, and that’s when I knew that I was really in the Premier League. It was an atmosphere I’d never seen before, even in Brazil. I remember I collapsed on the pitch at the whistle, and I was just praying to God, thanking him for bringing me here.
“In the dressing room, we all knew that we were never going down after that day. For me, everything that’s happened since – finishing 11th that season, then making it to the League Cup Final this season against Manchester United – it was born that day.
“I really took ‘the long way’ to this moment, but I think that maybe I appreciate it more because of all the setbacks.
“When I see these little boys and girls around Newcastle with their No. 39 kits, with their hair dyed white like mine, I just love it so much. It reminds me of running around with the napkin from the hamburger stand, begging for the Vasco players to sign their autographs.”