Jonas is fuelled by special brew: How Gutierrez puts Newcastle and the world to rights over a cup of mate
23:38 GMT, 13 December 2012
Video: When Colin met Jonas
Watch Jonas Gutierrez introduce Colin Young to the ritual of mate
There is a daily ritual with a difference at Newcastle United’s training ground.
It is two men putting the club, and the world to rights over a cup of tea. But there is something slightly different about this quiet early morning get-together in the first team dressing room.
Jonas Gutierrez and Fabricio Coloccini enjoy the tranquillity of their surroundings before the rest of their team-mates start to arrive and fill the four walls with noise, banter and naked bodies.
The two Argentina internationals bring their own backpacks from home to enjoy a cup of mate (pronounced 'matay'). They take out their own small wooden cup (calabash gourd), and fill it three-quarters full with some Argentine green tea leaves (yerba mate), which is purchased online or brought back from international duties.
They then tilt the gourd and create a small hole by the side in the leaves with a silver straw (bombilla) and pour in a large mouthful of water from the flask they have filled from the kettle before leaving their houses. The bombilla acts as a straw and a sieve.
Setting the world to rights: Jonas Gutierrez (left) introduces Colin Young to the world of mate
Normally you then pass your mate to your mate. But Coloccini and Gutierrez sip their own brews and discuss their favourite topic: Newcastle United.
Gutierrez – who also likes a cup of English tea in the afternoon – said: 'It is a tradition from Argentina and Uruguay. Everyday, morning, or afternoon, you sit with your family, or a group of friends and have a drink.
'Colo and I like to sit down and talk before training. We talk about the team, what is right and what is wrong. We always try to see how we can improve things.
'A few of the lads have tried it. Ryan Taylor didn’t like it all, he thought it was too strong and he pulled a very funny face. James Perch liked it but he doesn’t like coffee and he needed to put some sugar in it.’
Fans' favourite: The energetic Gutierrez has endeared himself to the Toon Army – and the feeling is mutual
There have been good times and bad for the Argentina internationals to contemplate over their four years on Tyneside.
have admitted their failings as they tried to find their feet in their
debut seasons. They eventually slipped to the Championship. The pair
could have left after relegation, but were integral members of the squad
which returned to the Premier League wiser and stronger.
'When you look at the past you realise maybe things happen for a reason,’ he says now.
'Nobody wants to be relegated but it was the right moment for this club. It might have been the right time to start form zero and have a fresh beginning. It was a hard time but look where we are now.
'For me, the biggest thing at that time was when I spoke with Diego Maradona, who was national manager, he told me it didn’t matter where I played as long as I was playing.’ Maradona once said, when asked about his team selections, that it was 'Mascherano, Messi, Jonas and eight others’.
Suited and booted: Gutierrez takes a bite out of the Warrior Skreamer Pro
was big,’ says Gutierrez, who comes up against Manchester City’s
Argentine trio of Tevez, Aguero and Zabaleta on Saturday lunchtime.
would have put me in a difficult situation to jeopardise playing for
the national team and in the World Cup. Once he said that I didn’t need
anything else and I wanted to stay to get Newcastle back in the Premier
Gutierrez is a footballer at all is not something his parents could
have envisaged at the age of three when he suffered a severe illness
which resulted in paralysis of the top left-hand side of his body.
was encouraged by specialists to take up sport immediately to develop
his limbs and bones. For a boy brought up in a small town near Buenos
Aires, football was the only choice. Within six years he had joined
Velez Sarsfeld where he was to win the Argentine championship in 2005.
Getting stuck in: Gutierrez, who will skipper Newcastle when they face Manchester City, models his new boot
said: 'I had a high temperature and it developed into a problem with my
body. I couldn’t move the left side of my body so the doctors said I
had to take up sport to help and my mother asked what I wanted to do.
And of course I just wanted to play football.
At ease: Gutierrez has found his spiritual home on Tyneside
I don’t remember it but it was hard for my parents at the time but they
saw straight away that I was OK and I didn’t have any more problems. I
was just out every single day playing football in the streets with my
friends. I have very happy memories of my childhood and I love my town,
whole Gutierrez clan moved to Spain after the title success when he was
offered a contract with Real Mallorca, who had been Newcastle United’s
UEFA Cup opponents two years earlier.
he was a success on the island, Gutierrez had his eye on a move to the
Premier League and even bought out his contract to move. Like Coloccini,
he has eventually proved one of the successes of the brief and messy
Dennis Wise era, after his switch from Mallorca was resolved by FIFA.
He may have a taste of home every day with his mates but Newcastle is very much his home now.
who captains the side in Coloccini’s absence, said: 'Newcastle is a
unique city and a unique club. The fans make the city and the club. They
make all the difference for the players.
Argentina they are really passionate but some of the things that go on
at the stadium are nothing to do with football. Maybe they go to relieve
the stress of their week but I can’t understand it.
'I really enjoyed Spain. The weather is maybe better weather, especially in Majorca where you have sun nearly every day but I prefer the English football.
Kicking off: Gutierrez hopes Newcastle can buck a trend which seen the club lose five of their past six games
gap between Real Madrid and Barcelona is too big and it makes league a
bit boring. You know when you start a season you are not going to fight
for first position.
always dreamed to be a footballer when I was young and when I started
watching football from England I thought I would get there one day.
Mallorca was the right step at that time and made it easier to come
'And I love it at
Newcastle. We had stability in our first season back and finished 11th,
then we got fifth place which was fantastic and we qualified for Europe,
which the club has not done for a while.
have done a great job in the Europa League to qualify for the next
round but it has been hard in the league. The team has deserved to win
the last three games and we have players back now, which is important.
'Maybe we had more luck last year and we have to refocus and work hard to get results now. The fans have to be patient and believe in the team.’
Revenge mission: Gutierrez tries in vain to stop Yaya Toure scoring during Manchester City's 2-0 win at St James' Park in May
The colourful new Warrior boots Gutierrez will now wear are not in keeping with his usual style to let his football doing his talking.
Perhaps they make up for the fact we will never see his famous Spiderman mask again. He has donned it on the few occasions he scored goals – it was forever appearing in the Championship season – but he’s ditched it now.
He added: 'The last time I did it the ref gave me a yellow card, and I prefer not to get a booking.
'I think the fans enjoyed it and I did but a booking can be really important, if you have to make a dirty foul and you’ve already been booked for getting the Spiderman mask out. I don’t think the manager or my team-mates would be very pleased.
'It is a shame but the team is the first thing I have to think about.’
Jonas Gutierrez wears the new Warrior Skreamer Pro boot