Newcastle United confirms Rafa Benitez departure

Newcastle United is to begin the search for a new manager after confirming Rafael Benitez will leave the club.

Rafa Benitez had been in negotiations with Newcastle United over an extension to a three-year stay.   -  Getty Images

Rafael Benitez will leave Newcastle United at the end of his contract this week.

Benitez had been in negotiations with the club over an extension to a three-year stay defined largely by the Spaniard's frustration at Newcastle's transfer activity.

However, those talks have failed to produce a resolution and the 59-year-old will depart when his contract expires on Sunday.

A Newcastle statement on Monday read: "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.

 

"Rafa's coaching staff, Paco de Miguel Moreno, Antonio Gomez Perez and Mikel Antia, will also leave the club on 30th June.

"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 took over in 2016 with the club mired in a relegation battle. He lost three of his first four matches and, despite then overseeing an unbeaten six-game run to end the season, Newcastle dropped into the second tier.

However, the former Liverpool, Inter and Real Madrid boss stayed on and revitalised the club in the Championship. Newcastle won the title on the final day of the season and went on to finish 10th in the Premier League in the subsequent campaign.

It again comfortably avoided relegation in 2018-19 after a poor start, finishing 13th. Newcastle was one of only four teams to beat champions Manchester City in the league and did finally break a transfer record that had stood since 2005 when it brought in Paraguay international Miguel Almiron in January.