Benitez wanted him, Spain was calling him back: Mikel Merino had a very strange season at Newcastle!

The hero of Spain, the man who sent the national team to the semi-finals of Euro 2024 with a goal in the 120th minute of the quarter-final against the Germans, had spent just one season at the Premier League! He arrived at Newcastle as a hot prospect, Benitez was excited, but the transfer strangely didn't come to fruition.  

Benitez wanted him, Spain was calling him back: Mikel Merino had a very strange season at Newcastle!


Mikel Merino made history with the goal he scored in the final minute of extra time in Friday's match against the hosts of this year's tournament.

Great jump, great movement, incredible body position to take the header and send it right where it needed to go, with Rudiger having forgotten him and taking huge responsibility for the goal that Germans conceded.

Making it 2-1, Merino celebrated like his father, at the same stadium, in November 1991, in Osasuna's game against Stuttgart. He wanted to honor him. He wanted to have this moment all his and his dad's.

In the year 2024 and more specifically these first days of July, everything seems ideal for the 28-year-old footballer. That wasn't the case at all, however, in 2017 when he decided to move from Dortmund to Newcastle.

Mikel Merino made just 25 appearances and had 1 goal in his short spell in the English north. In fact, that one goal was a last-minute header against Crystal Palace! As now against the Germans!

His move from Dortmund was on loan, but just after five games, Benitez wanted him on the regular roster. And so Mikel Merino's status in the "magpies" changed after just five appearances!

Up until the Christmas period, Merino was enjoying his playing time, however, at the start of 2018 things changed and he found himself on the bench. He is said to have showed symptoms of homesickness a lot as he struggled to fit back into his coach's plans. He also faced a pretty serious injury problem and leaving Newcastle was the only way that could help him.

As the Newcastle Chronicle reports, the player's contract contained a special clause – just like Dortmund's deal with Newcastle back in 2017 – with a very low release clause. This condition and the amount included in the deal with the English team had a make or break character in the negotiations, so the "magpies" were forced to accept it.

Sociedad made their offer and Merino didn't have to think much. He immediately packed his things and left England after just one season...