Luis Rubiales has been talking about Rafa Benitez and Newcastle United on Tuesday morning.
The President of the Spanish FA made headlines this summer when sacking national manager/head coach Julen Lopetegui only days before the World Cup was due to kick off.
Lopetegui had secretly agreed a deal with Real Madrid to take over after the World Cup and announced that fact without first consulting with his current bosses.
After the sacking, Fernando Hierro was named as Spain’s interim coach, to be in charge at least for the duration of the World Cup began.
A less than convincing tournament and eventual shock exit via hosts Russia in the last 16, confirmed no chance of Hierro getting the job on a permanent basis.
Luis Enrique getting that permanent role in the aftermath of Spain’s exit.
However, this (Tuesday morning), Spanish FA President Luis Rubiales as been talking to Spanish radio station, Cadena COPE.
Reuters reporting what Rubiales had to say:
“When I sacked Julen I immediately called Hierro and told him I didn’t want to make any changes (that he Hierro would stay as the man in charge now Lopetegui had gone).
“Two days later a letter arrived from Newcastle saying ‘Are you interested in our coach (Rafa Benitez)? He’s at your disposition.’
“We said thanks but no!
“We would have never done that, we couldn’t hire Rafa Benitez because it would have been acting in the same way for which we reproached Julen.”
Reuters say they have asked Newcastle for a response but at time of publishing had not received a reply.
Rafa Benitez himself had said in pre-season that there had maybe been an opportunity to be involved with Spain but that he was comfortable with the fact it hadn’t happened.
Newcastle supposedly offering Rafa Benitez for a temporary World Cup role was claimed in the media at the time but reported to have not happened due to lack of time to get it organised.
The fact that the Spanish FA have now confirmed that Newcastle United did indeed offer to loan their manager, is quite bizarre, and like much of what happens under Mike Ashley, doesn’t make sense.
It would have meant Rafa Benitez missing most of the summer of preparation with Newcastle United, and the chasing of transfer targets.
If Spain had gone to the final under Rafa, that would have taken place only two days before Newcastle’s first pre-season friendly and only 25 days before the end of the transfer window and 27 days before the Premier League kicked off.