Soccer

No Newcastle return for fan favourite Benitez after leaving Dalian Pro

No Newcastle return for fan favourite Rafa Benitez despite pressure on current boss Steve Bruce – because Spaniard’s bitter relationship with owner Mike Ashley would make a reconciliation IMPOSSIBLE

  • Rafa Benitez left Newcastle in 2019 on bad terms with owner Mike Ashley 
  • The former Liverpool boss remains a popular figure at the north east side 
  • He is keen to jump straight back into management after leaving Dalian Pro

Rafa Benitez is ready to work in the Premier League again after quitting Dalian Professional in China, but is not in line for a return to Newcastle, despite the pressure on Steve Bruce.

The acrimony between Benitez and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley was so great by the time the Spaniard left the North East in 2019 that any reconciliation would be impossible, although Benitez remains hugely popular with fans.

Benitez is not expected to be in the race for the Celtic job, preferring to bide his time and see how the Premier League market unfolds.

Rafa Benitez is ready to work in the Premier League again after quitting Dalian Professional

The acrimony between Benitez and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley (left) makes any reconciliation almost impossible

But the former Real Madrid coach is keen to return to management soon, now his £15million-a-year stint in China is at an end.

A return to Serie A — where he had a successful two-year spell at Napoli — is possible, but Benitez would prefer to be close to his family in Merseyside.

Benitez’s time in China was hugely disrupted by Covid-19, which meant last season was delayed. His team had to spend weeks at a training camp in Spain before being let back into the country at the start of last year, then Benitez was stuck in quarantine for three weeks in Hong Kong before he could join his side.

He is therefore not in line to replace current under-fire manager Steve Bruce at the club

And the prospect of another 28 days of isolation on his return next month made the job infeasible.

After Benitez was appointed in 2019, the Super League’s financial rules changed — meaning Dalian’s billionaire owner Wang Jianlin was prevented from making expected investments in players.

But Benitez has left the club on amicable terms and is expected to return as an ambassador once Covid abates.

Benitez – who left the North East in 2019 –  remains hugely popular with the club’s fanbase




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