Rafa Benitez responds to Antonio Barreca's deleted Instagram message to Newcastle United

Antonio Barreca and Rafa Benitez at Wembley.
Antonio Barreca and Rafa Benitez at Wembley.

Rafa Benitez says he has NOT forgotten about Antonio Barreca.

The loan signing has played just four minutes of football for Newcastle United since joining from Monaco in January.

Barreca – who came off the bench against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley in early February – hinted at his frustration in an Instagram post this week.

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The 24-year-old cheekily messaged the club and said: “I’m here too! Have you forgotten?”

Barreca later changed the message to read: “I’m doing my best to be ready for the first chance!”

Barreca has found his route to the team blocked by the form of makeshift left wing-back Matt Ritchie.

“To be fair, I didn’t know that he put something on Instagram,” said Benitez, who does not follow Barreca on the social media site.

“I was talking with him that day or the day after. I was talking with him, because I had a conversation with another person in Italy, and then I was talking with him about that.

“I told him that I would like to give him a chance but, obviously, the team was doing well. (Paul) Dummett – who, at the beginning, was injured – was fine, so it’s not easy for him.

“I told him that I gave him confidence in the first game.

“I put him on to play some minutes against Tottenham, because I trust him, because we were losing and I gave him an attacking role for the team.

“After that, we were doing well, and he has had no space.

“When you have to pick the 18 players, it depends on the players you have available and then you have to pick one or the other one.

“With (Sean) Longstaff, we had five midfielders, so you cannot go with five midfielders. Sometimes, when you have players who can play in this position like Dummett and Kenedy, when he was there, you don’t need another player – and maybe he can only play in this position and you need players for the other positions, so it’s quite complicated.”