Rafael Benitez explains why he left Newcastle and reveals Mike Ashley’s ‘unacceptable’ contract offer


Rafa Benitez has explained the reasons why he left Newcastle and has revealed details of an ‘acceptable’ offer he received to stay at the club.

The Spaniard left Newcastle to join Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang, where he reportedly earns a staggering £12million-a-year – double his salary at St James’ Park.

Rafa Benitez left Newcastle after three years


Rafa Benitez left Newcastle after three years

Benitez, 59, could not prevent the Magpies from being relegated after joining the club in March 2016 – but took them straight back up to the Premier League and led them to 10th-placed and 13th-placed finishes in 2017-18 and 2018-19 respectively.

However, despite fans pleading with him to stay at Tyneside, Benitez said he left because of the lack of ‘vision’ from the club’s hierarchy.

However, in the club’s programme for their opening Premier League clash against Arsenal on Sunday, managing director Lee Charnley suggested finances were Benitez’s main motive for the move to the Far East.


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But Benitez has vehemently denied those claims, insisting there was a breakdown in trust between himself and those in the boardroom.

In an exclusive column with The Athletic, he wrote: “Newcastle’s board had a year to sort out my contract but, when we met after the end of last season, they didn’t make me an offer I could accept.

“After that meeting, I knew they would not come back with a serious offer and, when it arrived, 19 days later, it was for the same salary as three years earlier and with less control over signings.

“After three years of unfulfilled promises, I didn’t trust them.”

Newcastle are currently owned by Mike Ashley


Newcastle are currently owned by Mike Ashley

Benitez also revealed that his whole squad were rewarded with a bonus after Newcastle finished 10th in their first season back in the top flight –  except his coaching team.

The former Chelsea and Valencia manager said it felt like a punishment for him not committing his future to the club.

The Spaniard stated he was hopeful of a takeover and fresh investment at St James’ Park – and also rejected many other lucrative offers from other clubs – but in the end had to make the right decision for his family, his staff and their families.

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