Former Newcastle United and Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez reveals future move
The Spaniard opened up on his future before watching two of his former clubs in action on Saturday night.
and live on Freeview channel 276
Former Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez has revealed he is waiting for ‘the right project’ before returning to the dugout - despite receiving interest from clubs in Asia and Mexico.
The Spaniard became a popular figure at a number of his former clubs after becoming a two-time La Liga winner during a highly successful spell at Valencia and claiming an FA Cup and Champions League win with Liverpool. Short spells with Inter Milan, Napoli and Chelsea also saw Benitez add to his growing list of acheivements with the latter of that trio lifting the Europa League during his interim spell in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Given the lack of ambition and drive during Mike Ashley’s ownership at Newcastle, there was some surprise when Benitez was named as successor to former Magpies manager Steve McClaren in March 2016. After being unable to help his new side avoid relegation, Benitez helped United bounce back into the Premier League at the first attempt just over 12 months later before re-establishing the club in the top flight over the following three years.
After his departure from Tyneside was confirmed in June 2019, Benitez had an 18-month spell in charge of Chinese club Dalian Professional but has been out of work since he departed Everton in January 2022 as a controversial stint at Goodison Park was brought to an end.
Speaking ahead of Newcastle’s meeting with Liverpool on Saturday evening, he confirmed what he is looking for as he considers a return to life in management and revealed his intention to remain in England as he waits for a new role.
“I said it so many times, it depends, you need a project,” he told Sky Sports.
“I was lucky enough to manage a lot of teams and then because I did that and I won some trophies I can say ‘ok I don’t like this one, I like this one’. My problem is I am fine and happy in England in terms of the Premier League, my family, everything. Sometimes you make decisions that are a risk, but the reality is the Premier League is the best league in the world and I want to be around. I want to be in Europe.
“I have things in China, in South Korea, in Mexico, but you need a project with all of the experience I have and my staff has, because they are quite good on these kind of things, so we can analyse things and we can use our experience to build something. We were talking before about projects, a project now is three weeks, not three years. Then you are under pressure so we need some time and the right project.”
Benitez watched on as his two former clubs paid tribute to former United winger Christian Atsu just hours after his passing was confirmed. The Ghana international had been missing for 12 days after he tragically passed away following the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria.
It was Benitez that brought Atsu to Newcastle on an initial loan deal from Chelsea after of the Magpies’ successful push for promotion into the Premier League in 2016, before the move was turned permanent just under 12 months later.
Speaking ahead of Saturday night’s game, Benitez said: “I was in contact with him (Atsu) last month. We were sharing some messages – it’s very difficult for me to express in English – but I was feeling so bad and I was trying to contact him. Also, I don’t want to forget the rest of the people because there are a lot of people that have been in a really difficult time and I think we have to help in a way and today we have to remember Christian. Really sad."