Rafa Benitez is still big news in Spain.
Having lifted the La Liga title twice with Valencia and managed around Europe with the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Newcastle no surprise they still take notice of how their countryman is getting on.
Not to mention the small matter of his brief and ultimately disappointing spell at Real Madrid.
The Spanish media were represented at St James Park on Monday night as Newcastle United and Rafa gained promotion and they have some interesting info from their coverage.
Spanish publication AS Sport report Rafa Benitez responding after the game/promotion to claims he wouldn’t be suited to the demands of the Championship:
“I want to congratulate the players, the staff and the fans. We knew this was going to be difficult. Some said: ‘Rafa knows nothing about this league’. It was difficult but the hard work of the players and the support of the fans made it easier.”
As for Real Madrid, Rafa appeared to make a disparaging comparison between managing there and at Newcastle (in England):
“Here you are valued and there is no politics and weird things behind. In England they respect professionalism and work, not like in some places.”
As for moving up to the Premier League, AS Sport report Rafa talking of the difficulties in stepping up:
“This league is difficult. We play two games a week and you have to recover. The Premier is different and you have to change the team. ”
As for financing that change of squad, AS Sport report Rafa Benitez commenting on the budget he will have to prepare for next season:
“We have a 70 million pounds (82 million euros) budget.”
A bit strange if Rafa has shown his hand but we will find out in due course just how well he will be backed by Mike Ashley.