A night of firsts at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha

NEWCASTLE: Newcastle United star Bruno Guimaraes has moved to cool summer exit talk by insisting he is happy to stay at St James’ Park for a “long time.”
The Brazilian has been the subject of speculation after details of a buyout clause inserted in his new contract, only signed in Oct. 2023, leaked into the public domain. The Magpies’ dip in form and struggles to replicate the Champions League-qualifying campaign of 2022/23 has only added fuel to that fire. Talk of Barcelona, Real Madrid and even Premier League rivals Liverpool has followed.
However, in the aftermath of yet another eye-catching performance — this time a two-goal, match-winning show against Nottingham Forest last weekend — Guimaraes has addressed the speculation. And in a move which will bring a smile to Newcastle fans’ faces, he has expressed his desire to stay on Tyneside, citing his connection with the supporters, and the love they have shown, as his main drive.
The 26-year-old said: “Sometimes people speak a lot about me. I just speak a lot about football. I’m very happy here and I like how the fans think of me here. Let the people speak.
“I enjoy my time here. The fans have been unbelievable for me and my family. I hope this can keep going for a long time.”
Even during Newcastle’s faltering season, former Lyon man Guimaraes has been a beacon of light. He has often been asked to be the Magpies’ main defensive shield in front of a struggling back four, as well as the team’s creative spark. It has often led to Guimaraes looking stretched in the midfield three, caught between a rock and a hard place.
That all changed last weekend, though. Given licence to roam from his usual No. 6 role, Guimaraes caused havoc in more advanced areas, occupying a No. 8 slot normally taken up by youngster Lewis Miley. It was a move Eddie Howe would not regret as Guimaraes opened the scoring at the City Ground with a sumptuous trivela volley. He bagged the winner in the second half, too, pouncing a wayward Anthony Elanga pass to stroke past former Newcastle keeper Matz Sels to claim all three points. As the net bulged in front of the travelling Newcastle fans, the moment was not lost on Guimaraes, who climbed the advertising boards to rise high and put two fingers in his ears — a clear reference to the transfer talk.
“I’m very happy, it was a good game for us. I played with more freedom and felt good. It was important after the draw with Luton last week that we played very well and it was very important for us,” said Guimaraes.
“For me, we shouldn’t have given the ball away that we tried to pass. The second half we played very well. We played with the ball a lot on the night.
“For me, (the first) was a lovely goal. One of the most beautiful in my career. I dedicate this goal to the ‘Mad Dog’ (assistant coach Jason Tindall) because we worked on it in training. When I play as a six, I don’t get the chance to play forward as much so I enjoyed playing high.
“I think I can play in the six, eight and 10. I played very well with the two goals. Thank you gaffer. To be honest with you, when I saw the ball come in, I didn’t know whether to hit it with my left or right (foot) but it was a perfect finish.”
Ten points off fifth-placed Aston Villa and five behind sixth-placed Manchester United, Guimaraes’ Magpies, in 7th, find themselves a little off the pace when it comes to the race for what is likely to be a fifth Champions League place for the Premier League this season. With only 14 games remaining, Newcastle have a considerable gap to bridge, but Guimaraes remains confident in the squad around him.
He said: “We have to get European football again, and we will try for the Champions League. I know it’s difficult but definitely (we are aiming) for Europa League.
“We have been better away from home this season. We have a big game at home next week (against Bournemouth) and hopefully we can get the three points.”
Guimaraes has been earning rave reviews for his performances, whether results have come Newcastle’s way, or not. His most recent show was not lost on Magpies’ legend Alan Shearer, who remains both Newcastle United and Premier League record goalscorer.
“He was brilliant, scored two wonderful goals. His all-round performance, I thought, was magnificent,” Shearer told BBC TV show “Match of the Day.”
He added: “Everything good about Newcastle, he was at the heart of it. Whether he was keeping the ball, protecting the ball, adding that little bit of quality with his passing, his movement, his ability to find space that not many others can.
“His (first) goal was a well-worked set piece, a great ball in from (Kieran) Trippier, but that is such a difficult technique. To hit it like that, eyes on the ball watching it all the way. To get the direction and power that he did, it was an incredible goal.
“For his second goal, he’s actually a split second quicker than anyone else’s thought process. He knows exactly what Forest want to do but he’s not letting them do that. Just watch the way he reacts, he’s quick and gets the ball and he’s got the ability to whip it into the corner.
“That’s why the Newcastle fans love him. He’s got a great relationship with the fans and rightly so. He’s a lovely man and a very, very good footballer.”
Newcastle United face AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday at St James’ Park. The Magpies are currently without a whole host of injured and suspended players, with Sandro Tonali, Nick Pope, Callum Wilson, Joelinton, Alexander Isak, Elliot Anderson, Matt Targett, Jacob Murphy and Joe Willock all currently sidelined.

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