Rafa Beniitez asked the Newcastle United return question yet again…Gives same answer
Rafa Benitez has just completed his first full season in China.
The manager a year and a half into his two and a half year contract.
The virus situation has affected everybody, including those working in football, but generally not quite on the same level as those working and playing in the Chinese Super League.
They totally changed their format for the 2020 season, a shortened version with the division split in half, all games played in only two cities and after playing each twice in this reduced league format, a complicated series of play-offs then used to decide issues at the top and bottom.
The Chinese Super League have been successful in getting through the games but ultra strict restrictions have meant that all players and management have been living permanently in the same hotels for months, only really leaving for training and matches, not able to see family or live any kind of a normal life.
Rafa Benitez also met extra problems in terms of progressing the squad and club, due to changes made in terms of being able to recruit players, due to the virus situation.
So what next for Rafa Benitez?
Now back home in England, Rafa Benitez has been talking to Radio 5 and inevitably asked about his future.
The Spanish manager politely making clear he is not interested in the Derby County job despite the speculation.
What about Newcastle United though?
Well, the same old answer really, Rafa Benitez making crystal clear that he would return like a shot to Newcastle United, if the club was ran with ambition and with a chance of competing.
When still at Newcastle, towards the end Rafa kept saying he wanted a final ‘project’ and indicated his intention would be to work until he was around 70 or so.
The Spaniard is 60 now and if there was a takeover at Newcastle United and the club ran with ambition, in his three and a half years it is pretty clear that Rafa has built up a very good idea of what is needed throughout the club, from top to bottom. He repeatedly made clear that as well as investment in the first team, there was a desperate need to invest properly in a credible Academy system at NUFC and for the new ‘essential’ state of the art training ground promised by Mike Ashley in 2013, to be finally become reality.
Rafa’s answers below aren’t a come and get me plea, they are simply him spelling out the truth, making clear to the likes of the Saudi PIF that he is ready and waiting if / when a Newcastle United takeover happens.
Rafa Benitez appearing on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Euro Leagues Show and asked about the claims he could take over at Derby County, whether he is interested in going there:
“No, not really, they [Derby County] are a big club and I have a lot of respect for them but at the moment I am focused on trying to pass my quarantine here, spend a little time in England, then prepare the next season.
“You never know because football and life is changing so much, but at the moment, no.”
Asked if he would consider a return to Newcastle United…:
“When I left Newcastle, I was waiting until the last minute for a takeover, but obviously it didn’t happen.
“I had a very clear idea that in this situation it was impossible to stay, even if I was really happy there.
“If you remember, when I went to Newcastle we were fighting until the end and we were relegated, then in the last game we played against Tottenham and I think it was maybe one of the best games in the history of Newcastle…we beat them 5-1 with 10 men.
“The fans that day were amazing and I decided to stay because of them.
“So with all of those things in your head…
“If I decided to stay when we had no money, imagine with a takeover [at Newcastle United].
“At the moment I have a lot of respect because I have a job [in the Chinese Super League] and I am very grateful to Dalian and Wanda – but the Premier League is a target for me.”
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