Two days after Newcastle scraped through an FA Cup replay away to Oxford, one former Magpie was scoring the winner against Real Madrid.
Mikel Merino was adored during his time with the club. He joined Newcastle in 2017, quickly impressing with his poise and class in possession.
His loan deal quickly became permanent, signing a five-year deal at St James’ Park. However, one year after arriving he was on the move again.
Merino joined Real Sociedad for around £10million due to a buyout clause in his contract, and some Newcastle fans still rue the day he left.
He left the Magpies because of limited game time, and things have been very different back in Spain. Merino is a key figure in the Sociedad midfield, featuring in all but two games so far this season.
His most recent appearance was at one of the most famous stadiums in world football – the Santiago Bernabeu.
Sociedad took on Real Madrid in the quarter final of the Copa del Rey, and it was the away side who reached the final four.
Merino scored in the 69th minute, putting his side 4-1 up. Real did attempt a comeback, with goals from Rodrygo and Nacho making it 4-3.
They couldn’t get a fourth though, meaning the former Newcastle man’s goal settled the tie.
It was quite a night for Real Sociedad, and it was quite a night for Merino.
He’s an incredible footballer, and one who would still walk into our midfield. If only things had gone differently.