Rafa Benitez has made his own personal statement after assistant Fabio Pecchia (pictured above to the right of Townsend) was confirmed as the new Manager of recently relegated Verona.

Pecchia takes over at the club who were relegated from Seria A last season.

The Newcastle boss congratulates his former assistant who has been with him at both Real Madrid and Napoli, as well as the relegation run-in at Newcastle last season.

As Rafa Benitez wishes Fabio Pecchia luck, Newcastle fans wonder who will be lining up alongside the United boss.

After surviving the cull after Steve McClaren was sacked, Ian Cathro could be a possibility, whilst Bolo Zenden has also already been mentioned.

A wildcard suggestion from some Newcastle fans is Alan Shearer, somebody who Rafa Benitez has a lot of time for and one who would certainly be an eye-opener if appointed, especially after the way he was treated by Mike Ashley after his initial short-term appointment for the final eight games in he previous relegation season.

Rafa Benitez official statement:

“Today I would like to congratulate Fabio Pecchia who, until now, has been my ‘assistant ‘ in my recent managerial appointments at SSC Napoli, Real Madrid CF and more recently – Newcastle United FC.

“Fabio Pecchia has just accepted an offer from Hellas Verona and leaves us to return to Italy. To the football league we both fondly know as ‘Calcio’, he returns to head up an interesting and exciting project in Hellas Verona.

“For this reason, I’d like to highlight two points:

“First, I am sad to see him depart as he has been an excellent professional from the first day and until the last in the years we have worked together.

“Second and most importantly, I am pleased because he been considered for this new position, he leaves to face these new and exciting challenges, both personally and professionally. I wish you all the best, good luck and I can only say thank you for everything, Fabio.

“In my opinion, Hellas Verona are right in choosing Fabio and Filippo Fusco, another person close to me. Filippo is an individual who is professional, diligent, capable and equally qualified as Fabio is. This is another reason to be pleased for Fabio’s departure and subsequent journey.

“I wish them both the best of the luck, strength and encouragement for their new and future endeavours.”