Rafa Benitez is staying at Newcastle United, the club releasing an official statement on Wednesday evening to confirm this (read it below).

The Champions League winner will lead Newcastle in the Championship as the club try to bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt.

A huge job for Rafa Benitez, to undo years of damage caused by Mike Ashley, Derek Llambias, Steve McClaren, Graham Carr, Alan Pardew, John Carver, Joe Kinnear, Lee Charnley and numerous players who have let the club down.

Official Newcastle United Statement

‘Newcastle United are delighted to confirm that Rafa Benitez will remain as Newcastle United manager, after signing a new initial three-year contract.

On Wednesday afternoon the Spaniard put pen to paper on the deal which will keep him on Tyneside until at least the summer of 2019.

Benitez will have day-to-day responsibility for all football-related matters at the club.

The 56-year-old joined the Magpies in March, taking charge of the team for the final ten games of the 2015/16 season.

Despite the club’s eventual relegation, he led United to three victories and a six-game unbeaten run, which culminated in a comprehensive 5-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the season.

Benitez said: “I am extremely pleased to be staying at Newcastle United.

“The love I could feel from the fans was a big influence for me in my decision to stay, as was my relationship with Lee Charnley and all the staff.

“This is a huge club and I wanted to be part of the great future I can see for Newcastle United.”

Managing director Lee Charnley added: “When we brought Rafa to the club in March, we knew he was a phenomenal manager and everything we have seen from him since has only served to reinforce that.

“We are therefore delighted to have secured his services for the next three years and I believe with Rafa as manager it gives us the best possible chance of returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking and delivering success for this football club beyond that.

“It is clear that Rafa has connected deeply with the club’s supporters and we do not underestimate the role they have played in his decision to stay.

“He has captured the hearts and minds not just of the fans, but of everyone who has had the pleasure of working with him at the club thus far.

“As a world-class manager we had no doubt in our minds as to the importance of retaining him at Newcastle United.”

A further announcement regarding Benitez’s coaching staff will be made in due course.’