Rafa Benitez 'expected' Newcastle United return

Rafa Benitez has revealed that he had “expected” to return to Newcastle United.

Sunday, 18th July 2021, 10:01 am

Benitez – who left St James’s Park two years ago after failing to agree a new contract – had been linked with a return in the event of a proposed £300million takeover being passed by the Premier League

However, that deal wasn’t approved last summer, and the club is now going through an arbitration process.

Benitez succeeded Carlo Ancelotti at Everton last month, and the 61-year-old, speaking about his new job, said: “I was following them (Newcastle) when I was in China (with Dalian Professional). I was in contact with a lot of people, I was expecting maybe something will happen. It didn't happen. That's it.

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Rafa Benitez in China.

“I have to concentrate on now, with Everton I could see the vision, as a club they want to be successful. We were talking about the new stadium, so many things that means the club is going in the right direction.”

Benitez took over at Chinese club Dalian Professional shortly after leaving Newcastle.

“Going to China was an opportunity,” said Benitez. “Dalian came with a great offer, a massive project in terms to build something, and we did it.

“Covid-19, and the change of the Chinese League, changed everything. They didn't want me leave. They were talking about extending the contract, but we were thinking about coming back and competing in the Premier League, close to home.

“As I have said many times, for me it’s a challenge. We want to fight from the first day. We are really fighting, trying to improve every single detail in the training sessions.”