Thursday 18 July 2019

Where next for Rafael Benitez after Newcastle exit?

A look at the Spaniard’s options following his departure from St James’ Park.

Rafael Benitez will be considering his next move after it was announced he is leaving Newcastle (Ian Hodgson/PA)
Rafael Benitez will be considering his next move after it was announced he is leaving Newcastle (Ian Hodgson/PA)

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

Rafael Benitez will be considering his options after it was announced he will be leaving his post as Newcastle manager when his contract expires on June 30.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at where the Spaniard could work next.

  • 2001-04 Valencia
  • 2004-10 Liverpool
  • 2010 Inter Milan
  • 2012-13 Chelsea
  • 2013-15 Napoli
  • 2015-16 Real Madrid
  • 2016-19 Newcastle

Chinese Super League

With contract negotiations at Newcastle appearing fraught in recent weeks, Benitez has been heavily linked with a big-money move to China. Reports claim the 59-year-old has been offered £12million per year to take over at Dalian Yifang. This would make him the highest-paid manager in China. There has been little indication as yet, however, that Benitez is tempted.

Spain

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Luis Enrique stepped down as Spain manager last week (Nick Potts/PA)

Benitez’s Newcastle exit comes five days after it was announced Luis Enrique was standing down as manager of the Spain national team for personal reasons. Enrique’s assistant, Robert Moreno, has taken over and is due to lead them through to Euro 2020, but Spain have now had four managers in the past year and appointing another one, if results are bad, is hardly inconceivable.

Chelsea

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Benitez won the Europa League with Chelsea (Nick Potts/PA)

It seems unlikely, but a return to Chelsea is a possibility. The London club are looking for a new manager after Maurizio Sarri’s move to Juventus. Frank Lampard has been heavily tipped for the job, but there has been no significant development on that front in the week since Sarri’s departure. Benitez boasts the same credentials that attracted Chelsea to him when he had a stint as interim boss at Stamford Bridge in 2012-13. That spell yielded Europa League success. The downside was that he never truly won over the fans due to his past Liverpool connections, and that would count against him again.

Other Premier League club

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Benitez’s finest hour came in the Champions League with Liverpool (Rebecca Naden/PA)

It is thought Benitez would prefer to stay in England. His family are settled in the country and are still based on Merseyside following his successful time at Liverpool from 2004 to 2010. But, Chelsea aside, there are no big jobs currently available. He would have to bide his time and wait for an opportunity. His move to Newcastle shows it need not be a top-six club, but he would look for somewhere with notable stature. He would surely also consider openings in LaLiga or Serie A should they arise.

Newcastle

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Benitez was a popular figure at St James’ Park (Richard Sellers/PA)

Stranger things have happened. If Newcastle struggle to find a new boss, or their much talked about, on-off takeover ever happens, maybe an olive branch could be offered. It would certainly be popular with supporters.

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