Rafa Benitez: Newcastle's statement in full after appointment to replace Steve McClaren

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager tells supporters: 'C'mon Toon Army! The club and I need your total involvement!'

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The Independent Football

Newcastle United have appointed Rafael Benitez as manager to replace sacked head coach Steve McClaren.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss arrives at St James' Park on an initial three-year deal with the immediate objective of avoiding relegation from the Premier League this season.

The Magpies are currently second-bottom in the league table, one point off local rivals Sunderland, who sit outside the relegation zone in 17th place.

Club's statement in full

Newcastle United is delighted to announce the appointment of Rafa Benitez as the Club's new manager.

Benitez joins United on an initial three-year deal.

The Club can also confirm the appointment of Fabio Pecchia, Francisco de Míguel Moreno, Antonio Gómez Pérez, who will join Ian Cathro and Simon Smith to form Benitez's coaching team.

Paul Simpson, Alessandro Schoenmaker and Steve Black will part company with the club with immediate effect.

Speaking of his appointment, Rafa Benitez said: "I have the pleasure to confirm I have committed to a legendary English club, with the massive challenge of remaining part of the Premier League.

"It will be a challenge not just for me and my staff but for the players, the Club and the fans.

"All of us must push together in the same direction and with the same target in mind. This is the reason why I'm going to ask for your total support to successfully complete this task.

"Personally, it means my return to the Premier League, closer to my home and my family. I can't be happier.

"C'mon Toon Army! The club and I need your total involvement!"

Managing Director Lee Charnley said: "I am very pleased to welcome Rafa Benitez to the club. In Rafa we have, without doubt, secured the services of one of Europe's top managers.

"He has managed some of the most successful teams at the very highest level of the game and we are proud to now have him as our manager.

"Our sole focus now is to give our full support to Rafa, his coaching team and the players in order to secure our status in the Premier League.

"I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to Paul Simpson, Alessandro Schoenmaker and Steve Black for their service to the Club."

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