NEWCASTLE: Bruno Guimaraes has made it clear that he wants to become a “legend” at Newcastle United — and Eddie Howe is backing the Brazilian to do just that.
The former Lyon midfielder was instrumental in ensuring the Magpies took a giant leap toward Premier League safety at the weekend with a two-goal show in a win over Leicester City at St. James’ Park.
Guimaraes has in the past spoken of his ambition to win trophies on Tyneside, which came as music to fans’ ears. Now, he wants to make sure he writes his own name in the Newcastle history books.
“What a feeling, what a game, the group deserved it,” said the 24-year-old Brazil international.
“To score two goals was brilliant. I don’t have words. Scoring the winner was incredible. I need to say thank you to the fans because the energy was incredible.
“It was always my dream to play in the Premier League and I’m so happy. I want to be a legend here.”
Heroes of yesteryear, legends in their own right, have come out in praise of United’s new $52-million man.
Premier League and Newcastle United record goalscorer Alan Shearer took to Twitter to heap plaudits on Guimaraes, with the midfielder replying: “Boss, you’re the best.”
Can Guimaraes deliver on his promise to be talked about in the same breath as the likes of Shearer?
Head coach Howe isn’t betting against it.
“I won’t ever put a ceiling or barrier on anybody. A lot of that will depend on what happens,” he said of Bruno’s claims.
“I hope he has a long future here and obviously what the team can do for him, win and achieve.
“I think the players and the fans can see the passion behind the player, how he celebrates, how happy he is to be here.”
The ambition that floods from Guimaraes is infectious, but with that comes expectation. And Newcastle United must live up to their new star man’s desires in the coming years if they’re to hang on to his precocious talent.
For now, though, Guimaraes admits he’s delighted to be along for the ride.
“I am very happy over here. We have settled in very well,” said the player.
“I always wanted to play in the Premier League, it was always a dream of mine, so playing for Newcastle United has been pleasurable.
“It is special, my family is happy and me too.
“We need to thank the fans, their support is a fundamental piece in the jigsaw. The other teams know how hard it is for them to play against us at home.
“The last few games we were conceding goals in the last few minutes, like against Everton and Chelsea, and instead scoring in the last minutes was very special for everyone.
“We must keep in mind that we must win at home — and this time we did. We need to focus on the next game, as we need to take points at home. But for today, we celebrate.”
Leaving the last word to Howe, a key figure in brokering the deal to sign one of Europe’s hottest talents in the winter window, the head coach admits he has been a little surprised by how quickly the player has adapted to life in England, especially when many find it so tough to switch from foreign climes mid-season.
“There are two ways to look at it — the person and the footballer,” explained Howe.
“I think the person has settled in very, very quickly. He has made good friendships as he is a very calm, happy person. People have taken to him in that respect.
“The footballer, we were patient with him, we didn’t want to expose him too early to the Premier League when we had a winning team.
“But certainly, behind the scenes he has shown his quality. He has picked up the pace very quickly, which isn’t always easy to do for players coming to the Premier League.”