The Spanish midfielder spent only one year and a half with the Magpies and now he’s playing with Real Sociedad.
Mikel Merino started his professional career in 2014 with Osasuna in the Spanish La Liga.
He was quick to move to Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga in 2016 and was loaned to English Premier League side Newcastle United on 2017.
The same year he was acquired by the Magpies, and he ended up following the orders of manager Rafael Benitez.
“Once I made the decision. Rafa called me. We were not talking for too long but he wished me the best,” Merino told Chronicle Live.
“I did the same and I still try to follow all the matches that Newcastle play. I’m still a Newcastle fan. I think I will always be one.”
“It was tough. It was not an easy decision for me. I miss a lot of things from Newcastle and the way they treated me was pretty awesome because I felt almost like I was at home,” he said.
“The city was really beautiful and the people there showed me a lot of love. Not only the league and the football but the culture and everything.”
“I was living there with a friend and we both miss it a little bit because they are experiences that maybe you don’t live again in the same way. This time was really special,” he commented.
“It was great to have a Spanish manager who has made such a big impact in the game and in England with the fans.”
“I learned a lot of things: what I need to do and what I don’t have to do on the pitch. That helped me a lot. Not only him but all my team-mates and of course in the league, every single match was special and you could learn something different from every training session,” the Spanish midfielder continued.
“I think that Rafa’s a very constant coach. He always knows what he has to do. He’s always on top of the players. He’s always taking care of every single detail with every single player. It doesn’t matter whether you are the goalkeeper or the striker, he’s always taking care of you and that’s what makes him a great coach for me.”