Man behind the mask: Who is new Norwich City signing Jonas Gutierrez?
10:12 14 January 2014
Norwich City fans may have been hoping for Superman to turn their team’s fortunes around, instead Chris Hughton has turned to another superhero, Spiderman.
■ Born: July 5, 1983, Saenz Pena, near Buenos Aires, Argentina
■ 2001-05: Velez Sarsfield - 99 games, 2 goals
■ 2005-08: Real Mallorca - 96/5
■ 2008-14 Newcastle - 196/11 (has only played twice this season, most recently in October
■ Argentina: 22 caps, one goal, debut v France in 2007. Was regarded as a key man when Diego Maradona was in charge.
Gutierrez has pulled out a Spiderman mask to celebrate goals in the past, saying the unusual celebration started after a cinema trip during his time at Real Mallorca.
A young boy asked the winger if he could score a goal for him and Gutierrez said he would put on a Spiderman mask, as that was the boy’s favourite film, if he did manage to score.
It may seem a silly sidenote, as Gutierrez has also received high praise from some of world football’s biggest names.
Argentina legend Diego Maradona once said Gutierrez was alongside four-time FIFA world player of the year winner Lionel Messi and midfielder Javier Mascherano as one of the first names on his teamsheet when he was manager of his country.
While Barcelona star Messi, speaking in August 2010, said: “The Premier League have not seen it yet but Jonas is one of the best players in the league,
“I know you guys have Rooney, Fabregas, Torres and many more stars – but Jonas is as good as any of them.
“I am backing him to show it this season. Maradona calls him one of the three most important players in the Argentina squad and I think he is right – that is how good he is.
“It takes time for a player to adjust to a new country and he has now been there long enough to show his true form.
“By the end of the season I would expect the very best teams in Europe to be trying to sign him.”
Gutierrez may not have quite managed to live up to that billing but after 196 appearances and 11 goals in just over five years at Newcastle, he still became a big favourite with Magpies fans.
That is largely due to the loyalty Gutierrez demonstrated during the 2009/10 season, when Newcastle had been relegated to the Chamionship.
With 41 appearances and four goals during that campaign, Gutierrez helped Newcastle run away with the Championship title, under the stewardship of the man who is now his boss at Norwich City, Chris Hughton.
Gutierrez said his decision to stay and fight with Newcastle was thanks to advice from Maradona.
“When the time came to decide whether or not I was going to stay I made my decision after speaking with Diego,” Gutierrez said in April 2010.
“He told me that everything would depend on how I was playing and not where I was playing and that added to the commitment the club showed to me made my mind up to stay.”
His form that season ensured he went to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with his country, starting two games and coming off the bench in another two.
But Gutierrez, now 30, was handed the last of his 22 caps for his country in October 2011 and looks unlikely to be heading to this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
He now has the opportunity to get Premier League exposure once more after being reunited with Hughton in Norfolk, but will Norwich fans get to see the return of the Spiderman mask?