Rafa Benitez's first game as Newcastle United manager came in a 1-0 defeat at Leicester City in 2016. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Rafa Benitez: Five years on from his first game in charge of Newcastle United at Leicester City - where are they now?

Five years ago today, Rafa Benitez arrived at Newcastle United following the sacking of Steve McClaren.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 3:07 pm

Just two months previous, the 60-year-old had been manager of European giants Real Madrid, yet rocked up at St James’s Park to try and save United’s Premier League status.

The Spaniard, of course, fell just short in his challenge – which started with a Monday night fixture at eventual champions Leicester City.

Shinji Okazaki’s overhead kick decided the result in the Foxes’ favour but that didn’t set the tone for Benitez’s three-year tenure, who brought smiles and hope back to the people of Tyneside.

Here, we take a look at Benitez’s first-ever Newcastle starting XI and reveal where the players who featured at the King Power Stadium are now:

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