Next Newcastle manager: Rafa Benitez claims he wanted to stay but club ‘did not share his vision’

The Spaniard has left the Magpies after three years due to the club’s unwillingness to offer him a long-term contract

Tom Kershaw
Monday 01 July 2019 07:31
Rafael Benitez set to leave Newcastle United after failure to agree new contract

Rafael Benitez has issued a statement explaining his departure as Newcastle United manager, claiming he wanted to sign a new long-term contract but the club “did not share his vision”.

The Spaniard was overwhelmingly popular with Newcastle’s supporters and thanked them for letting him feel like he “belonged” at the club over the course of his three-year tenure.

Benitez won the Championship with the Magpies in his first full season in 2016-2017 season and has since guided the club to 10th and 13th-placed finishes in the Premier League.

The former Valencia, Liverpool, Napoli and Real Madrid manager’s coaching staff have followed him out the door, with speculation that Benitez has been offered a £12m-a-year contract to manage Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang.

Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta is currently the favourite to succeed Benitez, while Garry Monk, David Moyes and Roberto Martinez are also in the frame.

In a statement, Benitez said: “Thank you for three fantastic, exciting and, at times, challenging years.

“What we have had here – your support, your affection and your passion – has been unbelievable for me. St James’ Park has always been special, the 5-1 win against Tottenham, 15-05-2016, was so emotional that since that day I have always felt as though I belonged at Newcastle and I thank you for making me feel so welcome and at home.

“Thanks you to everyone at the club who has helped the team and of course the fine players who grew and fought with us and to the staff (one of the best I’ve ever shared time with).

The Newcastle manager has been credited with the team’s overachievement

“From winning the Championship, to our two season in the Premier League, fans staff and players have all been United. I wanted to stay, but I didn’t just want to sign an extended contract, I wanted to be part of a project. Unfortunately it became increasingly clear to me that those at the top of the club did not share the same vision.

“I’m very sad about that, but I do not regret for one moment my decision to come to Tyneside and I’m very proud about what we achieved together.”

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