Until Wednesday, Newcastle midfielder Jonas Gutierrez had not played for the club since the end of the 2013 season.
Doctors diagnosed Gutierrez with testicular cancer after the season and he had surgery to have the tumor removed in October 2013. He was healthy enough to play by January 2014, but found himself buried on the team sheet. He was loaned to Norwich City but made only four appearances due to a calf injury.
The cancer was not entirely eradicated and he was forced to undergo another surgery this fall and start chemotherapy treatments. Last Saturday, Gutierrez made his return to the squad as an unused substitute in Newcastle's win over Aston Villa.
Gutierrez finally returned to the pitch on Wednesday against Manchester United, greeted by raucous applause from the fans at St. James' Park. When he came on in the 64th minute, Fabio Coloccini gave him the captain's armband.
- Dan Gartland