Rafael Benitez will leave his role as Newcastle United’s manager this weekend.
The contract of the Spanish coach runs out on Sunday, June 30 and he has failed to agree a new deal at St James’ Park.
With the uncertainty over whether or not owner Mike Ashley will sell Newcastle over the summer, there appeared to be plenty of obstacles for both parties to overcome.
The fact that Benitez declined to extend his contract last summer when it had just one year remaining said a lot about where his head was at, as there was constant talk about his future over the past six months.
It is believed in recent weeks that he was only offered a one-year contract extension by Ashley.
Benitez, 59, has spent the past three full seasons at Newcastle after he joined in March 2016 but failed to save them from relegation from the Premier League.
The former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Valencia, Inter Milan, Napoli and Chelsea manager stayed in charge and led them to promotion from the Championship, then stabilized the club in the Premier League with 10th and 13th place finishes on a shoestring budget.
Below is the statement from the club in full, as Benitez’s backroom staff also leave St James’ Park alongside him.
“It is with disappointment that we announce manager Rafael Benitez will leave Newcastle United upon the expiry of his contract on 30th June 2019. We have worked hard to extend Rafa’s contract over a significant period of time, however it has not been – and will not be – possible to reach an agreement with Rafa and his representatives.
“We would like to thank Rafa and his coaching team for their efforts over the last three years and their significant contribution to what has been collectively achieved. We would also like to thank our supporters, players and staff for their patience during a period of uncertainty. The process to appoint a successor will now begin.”
Benitez leaves Newcastle with his reputation enhanced and Newcastle’s passionate supporters will now be upset and angry with owner Ashley that they have lost a hugely successful manager.
It is believed that Benitez wanted more money to spend this summer to push Newcastle up the table and challenge for a top seven finish, as well as making significant runs in cup competitions.
That will not happen as the uncertainty over Newcastle’s future remains, while Benitez has been linked with a move to manage in the Chinese Super League.
He will not be out of a job for long, as the job he has done at Newcastle has been nothing short of sensational.