Rafa Benitez blow for Newcastle fans – Says nowhere near agreeing new contract with Mike Ashley
Rafa Benitez on Friday rubbished claims in the French media that he had hired an agency to find him a Ligue 1 club for next season.
The NUFC manager declaring ‘The only club I am talking about now, about my future, is Newcastle United Football Club and I am waiting for an answer.’
Pretty much all of the media took that as a massive positive, widely reporting that it now appeared the scales had shifted in favour of Rafa Benitez signing a new NUFC contract.
However, on Saturday, Rafa has made clear that there is a difference between him saying he hadn’t made moves to find a French club and actually agreeing a new deal with Mike Ashley.
Asked after Newcastle lost to Crystal Palace about the ‘positive conversations’ he’d had with Mike Ashley and/or his minions, Rafa Benitez was keen to make clear to Sky Sports ‘I said there were conversations…That is it!’
As for where exactly he is at regarding reaching agreement with Mike Ashley with five weeks of the season to go, Rafa couldn’t be clearer: ‘At the moment we are not close.’
Rafa Benitez talking to Sky Sports:
Sky Sports journalist:
“I appreciate it is not the ideal time but yesterday there was an olive branch of hope for Newcastle fans from your press conference, when you suggested that there were positive conversations between you and the club, can you shed any more light or give any more explanation on that?”
“I said there were conversations…
“That is it!
“Normally when you have to negotiate you have to talk, then you have to see if you are close or not.
“At the moment we are not close.”
Rafa Benitez quizzed on Friday (5 April 2019) by media at pre-Palace press conference:
“According to reports this morning, you name has been mentioned (in a L’Equipe ‘exclusive’ claiming Rafa had engaged an agency to find him a Ligue 1 management job) in France…”
“…just in France? (smiles and media laugh)”
‘Is there any truth in that?’
“No, I read the story. The 6th March (when L’Equipe claimed he had a meeting in Manchester with the agency) I was here training and lunch, then I left seven or eight in the evening.
“The only club I am talking about now, about my future, is Newcastle United Football Club and I am waiting for an answer.”
“So you have held talks?”
“I am waiting for an answer.”
“What are you waiting for an answer on?”
“No, I am waiting for an answer, so we have been talking, and I am waiting for an answer.”
“When will you expect that answer?”
“I don’t know….(laughs).
“I don’t know, honestly.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 0 Crystal Palace 1
Milivojevic 81 (Pen)
Possession was Palace 46% Newcastle 54%
Total shots were Palace 3 Newcastle 18
Shots on target were Palace 1 Newcastle 5
Corners were Palace 4 Newcastle 9
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Lejeune (Dummett 65), Ritchie (Atsu 90), Hayden, Ki (Shelvey 76), Almiron, Perez, Rondon
Darlow, Fernandez, Muto, Manquillo
Crowd: 51,926 (Palace 1,400)
(Read instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Newcastle’s defeat to Palace HERE)
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