Former Newcastle United and Everton boss Rafa Benitez drops return to management hint

Former Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez has spoken publicly about a return to management.

<p>Former Newcastle United and Everton manager Rafa Benitez. </p>

Former Newcastle United and Everton manager Rafa Benitez.

Former Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez is open to a return to management - little under three months since he was sacked by Everton.

The Spaniard was dismissed by the Toffees in mid-January after just six months in charge as he recorded just one win in the previous 13 games.

Benitez initially got off to a strong start at Goodison Park - losing just one of his opening seven Premier League games - though the dip in form coincided with the Magpies’ takeover in October,

The 61-year-old was linked with a dramatic return to St James’ Park, and had Benitez been out of work, he would have undoubtedly been top of the new owners’ list as it was he who helped Amanda Staveley first come to the table in 2017.

Instead, they opted to replace Steve Bruce with Eddie Howe, who is within touching distance of guiding the Magpies to Premier League safety.

With Newcastle placing their full trust in Howe given the fantastic job he has carried out, a Benitez return to Tyneside has never been more unlikely.

Benitez, a Champions League winner with Liverpool, has set his sights on a return to the dugout, revealing he is open to “every opportunity right now”.

Speaking to the Italian media, the former Inter Milan and Napoli boss said: “Obviously as a professional manager, I’m open to every opportunity right now. I love football and I love talking about football.

“We said earlier when you speak with an Italian journalist or fan, they know what they’re talking about.

“I like Italian football. People say the level is not as good as it used to be.

“The issue is not about the youth sector or foreign players, it’s about having a work methodology that allows you to develop players and allow them to think and understand what is going happening on the pitch.”