Guillem Balague is a close friend of Rafa Benitez, as well as being a respected football journalist.

He has been looking at Rafa’s current situation and thinks it is the balance whether he stays at Newcastle United or not.

The NUFC boss currently has only months remaining on is current contract which ends after this season, with Rafa so far refusing to sign ana extension unless Mike Ashley backs him.

Guillem Balague declares though that one thing his friend has never been is a ‘quitter’ and thinks he will at least see this season out, do the right thing.

The journalist stating: ‘That would mean failure, quitting, and one thing Rafa Benitez is not, and never has been, is a quitter.’

He also states categorically that claims Rafa only took the Newcastle job for money are ‘spurious and scurrilous assertions’ and ‘outrageous as they are inaccurate.’

Guillem Balague speaking to BBC Sport:

After consecutive wins and seven points out of a possible nine, people are finally beginning to believe Rafael Benitez’s claims that his Newcastle United side are not going to be relegated.

But even if he does manage to keep them up, will it be enough to ensure he remains at St James’ Park?

If he does maintain the momentum and ensures Premier League status, it will be an achievement to rival any of the managerial successes crafted over a long and illustrious career.

Can Benitez’s vision be realised at Newcastle?

A victim of his own success by finishing 10th in the Premier League the season after winning promotion, you wonder if it would not have been better, having steered the family saloon to a mid-place finish in football’s equivalent of a grand prix, to leave while he was ahead.

Had they beaten a virtually already relegated West Brom at home in their penultimate game of last season they would have finished in an almost unimaginable eighth place. It was a stressful season, and in the summer lots of doubts surfaced about how much the club was going to back the Spaniard’s ambitious vision.

The spurious and scurrilous assertions that he only took – and remains in – the job for the money are as outrageous as they are inaccurate. The fact is Benitez was lured to Newcastle with the same dreams and aspirations as just about every single Newcastle fan. He, like they, wanted to wake the “sleeping giant”.

For “sleeping”, read comatose. Rip van Winkle, who slept for a mere 20 years, is practically an insomniac by comparison. Apart from the Championship and the kind of farce that was the Intertoto Cup, the last piece of silverware to sit in the club’s trophy room was the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup from way back in 1969.

He did not come to the club with a plan to merely avoid relegation. He wanted to win, to compete.

And yet in the footballing-mad metropolis that is Tyneside, expectations are high. Unnaturally so, really, with the perception that a top-10 finish ought to be the bare minimum for a club with the facilities and fanbase that they enjoy.

If Benitez had merely been there for the money, he could name his price and leave for China tomorrow. But for the Spanish manager that would mean failure, quitting, and one thing Benitez is not, and never has been, is a quitter.



  • Kenny

    One of the best football journalists out there & 100% correct

    • Leazes.

      Thank you.

  • Leazes.

    The regime seem to have said to themselves that a good manager can make a team punch above its weight….. they gave him the 17th most valuable squad, so therefore it equates to safety….. thats logical isn’t it?

    Have they found a new and magical formula to run a club on the minimum amount of money to achieve the safety spot?

    No actually its pretty stupid, as it doesn’t take into account injuries, form, or a spanner in the works…. it doesn’t take account of the fans saying enough is enough…..

    ….its torturous to watch a club as old and proud as this being held hostage like a Tarantino torture scene, It may be over the top to liken Hitlers einsatzgruppen who deported people from ghetto’s and cities in cattle trucks and made them pay for the trip…. but Ashley is using that same cynical ploy making fans pay for the destruction of their own club….he’s enjoyed the last eleven years of infamy.

    Rafa has 188 days and 15 hours left of his contract.

    Enough is Enough

    #BoycottWolves

    • Kneebotherm8

      Infamy,infamy………..they’ve all got it in for me………..and well deserved at that…..

      • Leazes.

        What a carry on

        • Kneebotherm8

          It is that…..

      • Rich Lawson

        Sid is currently away preparing for panto season at Sunderland Empire.

    • Rich Lawson

      Comparing Ashley to Hitler is possibly over the top,lets wait to see if he makes a move for a Polish club to add to his empire ?

  • Themoscow72

    The only thing which will make Rafa quit is the Magpie Group as he can not stand protesters.

    • East Durham Mag

      Cos he told you did he? Turn it up.

  • Kneebotherm8

    In his time here his aspirations for the club,and the fans,have been dimmed somewhat by our wonderful owner.

    • Leazes.

      If the story that he actually wanted Rondon as first choice is true then his dreams or plans for a Rafalution have been mis sold, and he’s become a journeyman manager.

      • Billmag

        C’mon Leazes Rondon wasn’t his first choice as you may well know, that’s been put about by people that haven’t got a clue, a lack of cash by the scurrilous ownership of this club is enough to dash anyone’s dreams even a great manager like Rafa.

        • Leazes.

          Ryder is saying he was…..Rondon has moved his family to Tyneside….. its a bit scary.

          • Billmag

            My God Leazes you are actually quoting that dipstick from the Chron, the World is going to end today.😀😀

          • Kneebotherm8

            My thoughts exactly…..

          • Kneebotherm8

            Do you really believe Ryder?

        • Ram Kishore

          I remember Rafa’s interview two weeks back, Rondon was his first choice but he also included these words something like “according to the situation and the budget he had”
          I don’t know the exact words but this is close to what he said.
          I will check on it

          • Billmag

            Oh my god Ram you are quoting the effing Chron, you are getting worse than Clarko.

          • Ram Kishore

            Lol.. 😂😂
            I just remembered that bill.. that’s all.
            It’s just that many of us on here we keep repeating whether he was Rafa’s first choice or not has become too monotonous to bear lol. Just saying 😂

      • Kneebotherm8

        Probably Rondon was the best option within the dire limitations set by our wonderful owner….doubtful he’s become a journeyman manager,he’s actually enhanced his reputation and standing in the game with his achievements here in the last couple of years with his hands,effectively,tied behind his back.
        I’ve no doubt he’ll be in demand when he’s forced out of this football club in the coming months and you don’t do that by having transformed into a journeyman manager.

      • Albert Stubbins

        Theres no way I will ever accept that Rondon was Rafas first choice under any circumstances other than the obvious one- i.e he was told he would have to get the best possible loan deal available. This is what he did. I feel that had Rafa had been given the reported (chronicle) transfer breaking money to buy a striker it wouldn’t have been Rondon- a player that everyone knows struggles to score regularly at this level. If he scores 10/15 in the league it will be a master stroke but an acquisition which I feel Rafa was forced into.

        • Ram Kishore

          Rafa’s interview after Cheeries win
          https:// www. chroniclelive .co.uk/sport/football/football-news/salomon-rondon-newcastle-rafa-benitez-15401505

          • Toon Arnie

            He was Rafas first choice when he realised he had nothing to spend !

          • Albert Stubbins

            That’s precisely my point Ram. It was the best he could get with money provided. Same could arguably be said about josselu. He’s expected to make silk purses out of pigs lugs and as we know that’s impossible. God knows how much he has to gee Rondon up every week to get some sort of tune out of him. It must be exhausting for Rafa trying to convince some of them that they’re decent footballers!!

        • Wor Lass

          Exactly.

      • Kenny

        Take it or leave it, never a Rafa 1st choice

        • Toon Arnie

          Other than the likes of Clarko and Moscow I don’t think anyone was fooled at all by the ‘Rondon on loan was Rafas first choice’ drivel.

  • Leazes.

    New Ryder Headline…..

    ….”Former Newcastle United insider helps Burnley with their homework ahead of Monday night clash”..

    …..Ex-Newcastle United coach Steve Stone is now on the backroom staff at Turf Moor and has been giving Sean Dyche the inside track on the Magpies.

    Ryder is a club insider with access to the staff and info on form and fitness….. he was interviewed by a Leading Liverpool Fan site on the eve of United’s game there a year ago….we lost.

    …. reverberations of the 74 cup final when the chronicle all but sabotaged any hope of a win by goading Liverpool….. they have a history of supplying the dirt to the London press as well…..

    Physician heal thine self!

    • Billmag

      How many players is actually still here when SS was here, Leazes that’s twice you’ve quoted that buffoon in the space of a few minutes, l’m going for a lie down. 😴

    • Rich Lawson

      thyself.

  • Sickandtired

    “For “sleeping”, read comatose. Rip van Winkle, who slept for a mere 20 years, is practically an insomniac by comparison.”
    PMSL! Epic piece of writing by Balague which the Chron can only dream about with their Muppets.

  • molend

    Have to be careful what I say here. Anybody seen Lee Benoit? Spanish waiter? No, C*jun superstar