Rafa Benitez delivers intriguing Newcastle United takeover message

Rafa Benitez has again spoken about the potential of Newcastle United – after distancing himself from the Derby County job.
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However, the former United manager, now in charge of Dalian Professional in China, said he was not interested in the Derby job.

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"It is a big club, and I have a lot of respect for them, but, at the moment, I’m focused on trying to pass my quarantine here, spend a little time in England and prepare the next season,” said the 60-year-old.

Rafa Benitez.Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

"You never know, because football and life is changing so much, but at the moment, no."

Benitez left Newcastle last year after failing to agree a new deal amid a takeover bid from the Bin Zayed Group, who are now set to take over Derby.

And Benitez – who guided United to the Championship title in his first full season on Tyneside – has left the door open to a return to St James’s Park in the future.

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"When I left Newcastle I was waiting until the last minute for a takeover, but obviously it didn't happen," Benitez said on BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I have a very clear idea that in the situation it was impossible to stay, even if I was really pleased and really happy there.

"If you remember when I went to Newcastle, we were fighting until the end – and we were relegated. In the last game we played against Tottenham, I think it was maybe one of the best games in the history of Newcastle. We beat them 5-1 with 10 men.

"The fans this day were amazing, and I decided to stay this day because of them. So, with all of these things in your head, if I decided to stay when we had no money, imagine with a takeover.

"At the moment, I have a lot of respect because I have a job, and I’m very grateful to Dalian and Wanda, but the Premier League is a target for me."

Steve Bruce succeeded Benitez at Newcastle.