Rafa Benitez reveals why he couldn't accept Mike Ashley's terms at Newcastle United
Rafa Benitez has spoken about his enduring love for Newcastle United – and the club’s fans.
Benitez’s final game in charge was the 4-0 win over Fulham on the final day of last season.
Newcastle’s travelling fans at Craven Cottage implored Benitez to stay at the club, but he left when his contract expired at the end of June and joined Chinese side Dalian Yifang.
Benitez was succeeded at St James’s Park by Steve Bruce, who he has “wished all the best”.
"I still love the city, the fans and the players,” Benitez told FourFourTwo. “My last game as manager was emotional. We won 4-0 at Fulham, and the supporters were singing my name at the end, trying to convince me to stay.
“I have a lot of very good memories. I wish them and Steve Bruce all the best. But I couldn't stay there just trying to survive for another year."
Benitez – who guided United to a 13th-placed finish in the Premier League last season – was offered a new deal by United owner Mike Ashley, but he wasn’t happy with the terms.
The 59-year-old said: “My idea was to grow, to compete and to be sure we could challenge. But there was another vision, and that was it.
“If you see the profit of the team in the last few years, we did what we needed to do to be successful. And that, it's up to him.”