Late on Friday, Newcastle United released a statement that some players willnot be retained, among them Jonas. Where do you start with a player like Jonas? As a player, at times he may have divided opinion. As a man, as a person, nobody can deny he has been an inspiration. 

Jonas came to Newcastle as an interesting addition. Signed in July 2008, he was a product of Graham Carr’s renowned scouting, having exercised FIFA’s clause 17 to engineer a premature end to his contract with Mallorca. Speculation was rife, were we to take on a football mercenary or were we lucky to get a player for one of football’s great nations, Argentina? 

Jonas signed, of course under Keegan, a manager who we expected to take us places once again. He may have been instrumental in the signing of his friend and international team mate, Coloccini, who had also been playing in the Spanish league and who for a season in Argentina, was also a rival. 

A fee, or rather compensation, was finally sorted. His first season proved to be something of a roller coaster, Keegan’s departure well documented Joe Kinnear being appointed as interim manager and following the latter’s heart problems, Alan Shearer. 

That year, Jonas started in just over half the Premier League games, sustaining an autumn injury and then seeing others preferred, notably Damien Duff.  His reputation of celebrating a goal with a Spiderman mask was left untested. However, his Spanish nickname of El Galgo (the greyhound) saw him endlessly chasing down opponents.

At the same time, he featured 4 times for his national team, earning him a respect that was not totally recognised for his club, becoming one of Maradonna’s undroppables.

Following relegation, perhaps surprisingly, Jonas was one of the senior players to stay on. This was when he started to come into his own, adopting a role on the left hand side which he claimed as his. Playing just ahead of Jose Enrique, his signature was effort in covering back, often relieving pressure with mazy runs upfield which typically resulted in attacking free kicks, affording the team time to regroup and force an advantage. 

It was one of those mazy runs that led to his first goal, Spiderman mask missing, against Peterborough, soon to be followed with another memorable strike against Barnsley where we saw the Marvel hero honoured for the first time by the man who was to become our own marvel. It was also the season that he started to establish a pattern for rare but spectacular goals. 

Having been instrumental in the promotion challenge, Jonas faced more upheaval with the arrival of Hatem Ben Arfa, who started to claim the wide left berth before an unfortunate injury which allowed Jonas to reclaim his place. Another managerial change from Hughton to Pardew was later to prove unsettling to say the least. However, he ended the season giving us a glimpse of heroics to come, with a fortuitous goal against Chelsea.

That summer also saw him attend the World Cup, playing his part in winning all group games before being knocked out by Germany against who he was an unused sub, this time playing on the right. It was arguably down to failures of club management that he was denied the opportunity to return to World Cup action on its return to his native South America. 

Having signed a contract extension, arguably his best season for Newcastle was the one on which we finished 5th in the league. Starting all but one league game, his biggest contribution was perhaps in nurturing Davide Santon, helping him to become an international class defender. He also proved that he could play in the same side as Ben Arfa, notably scoring another fantastic goal against Blackburn in one of only two FA Cup tie wins under Mike Ashley, another mazy run, long to be remembered. 

The 2012-13 season was his last as a regular. With 34 league starts he also found his stage in the Europa League, performing with his customary effort and distinction. His versatility was tested, having been used in several positions both in defence and midfield. It was towards the end of this season that personal upheaval struck. 

Diagnosed with testicular cancer must have been a huge bombshell. It was not apparent to us as supporters when he started the 2013-14 season but he was soon dropped, apparently a scapegoat for a mauling against Manchester City. Reportedly, he was told to find a new club and after treatment in Argentina, went to join his former boss, Chris Hughton, at Norwich. After further treatment, he came back to Newcastle. 

Despite reservations in some quarters about his talent, the support of Newcastle rallied behind his once doubted but now undoubted commitment to the Geordie public. Even his fiercest critics could recognise that club management had done him no favours in taking advantage of his desire to play in any of the unfamiliar positions he was asked to undertake, always with the utmost of effort. 

Support was shown to him through the 18th minute tribute. Without exception, Newcastle supporters applauded his determination to battle. Belatedly, some would say cynically, the club joined in. 

His courage was rewarded with a return to the fold. After a sustained period of debilitating treatment, Jonas returned as a force. If not initially up to pace, it was particularly heart warming to see the ovation he received by the home crowd when coming on as a sub at Anfield. Here was a man whose courage transcended team boundaries. He had fought the biggest battle and won convincingly. 

The last page of his Newcastle script, for the time being at least, was delivered in his final game. In the worst season for many a year, characterised once more by managerial upheaval, Jonas delivered the ending that Marvel themselves could not write. The cross for the opening goal against West Ham, the dramatic strike to seal victory, Jonas was the man. 

It is easy to think of him as just a footballer. It is also easy to be inspired by his battle. In his time here, he was also a fantastic ambassador, both for his country and for the club. There are countless stories of his efforts in the community and his desire to give time for others, whether supporters in the street or giving his time to good causes.

We have our own gratitude towards him. Having been critical of the regime currently in charge, we were fortunate enough to meet him at a training session. His infectious smile lit up the surroundings, time was not important. An effort to practice for a Spanish GCSE was received with what seemed an eternity of bonhomie. His diligence and patience were exemplary. 

Jonas, you are a gentleman, a warrior who will be forever respected on Tyneside. Your personal battles, encountered with ultimate grace will forever be an inspiration. You will long be remembered in the North East as a local hero, an example to us all on beating adversity. You will always be welcome back home. 

Siempre Geordie, buena suerte. Usted tiene una casa en nuestros corazones y esperamos que tenemos una casa en su corazon tambien.