Rafa Benitez was asked a daft question on Friday and gave a predictable answer.
However, the predictable answer has been given so many different interpretations.
If you want to nitpick then it was actually two questions he was asked but the answers were inextricably linked.
Firstly, Rafa Benitez was asked about the speculation regarding managing the Spanish national team, this coming about because the current incumbent del Bosque is almost certainly packing in after the Euros and has nominated Rafa, Martinez of Everton and one other, as his three favoured candidates.
“I am Newcastle manager and I want to be next year. I want to be here for a while.”
Rafa then asked if he would stay on if Newcastle are relegated:
“I have confidence that we will stay in the Premier League”
Amusingly, these predictable answers have spawned wild conclusions in very different directions.
Some have claimed that this means Benitez is definitely staying at Newcastle even if the club are relegated, whilst others have said the supposedly evasive nature of the answers leads you to the conclusion that Rafa is certain to be Spain’s Manager post-del Bosque.
The reality is though that he has said the only thing(s) he could say.
Benitez has neither confirmed or denied whether he will be at Newcastle next season and has neither confirmed or denied that he will take over Spain after the Euros.
The way I see it is this…
If Newcastle survive then Rafa Benitez stays at St James Park – unless Mike Ashley somehow drives him out.
If Newcastle go down, then I hope (and have a feeling) that Rafa will have seen enough to back up his initial belief – that Newcastle United could/would be a great club to manage and have every possibility of success if ran properly.
So…I would expect that at the very least Rafa Benitez would speak to Mike Ashley or his ‘intermediaries’ (who he met before taking the job, not Lee Charnley) and find out whether Ashley wanted him to stay and most importantly, whether he would allow and back him to mastermind the turning around of this mess that has been created over the space of nine years.