Revealed! How Rafa Benitez almost took charge of Spain AND Newcastle during the World Cup

Rafa Benitez.
Rafa Benitez.

Spain were ready to turn to Rafa Benitez after deciding to dismiss Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup.

Lopetegui was sacked after Real Madrid announced that he would take over at the Bernabeu after the tournament.

And Benitez was quickly identified as a coach who could take charge of the team on a temporary basis before returning to Newcastle United.

The club was open to the idea, though the Spanish Football Federation turned to Fernando Hierro.

Spain were knocked out by Russia in the Round of 16.

“Spain, I think, is a very good team, and they will be better in the future," said United manager Benitez.

Asked if he would like to manage them at a World Cup, Benitez added: “We will see. I still feel young, so I have plenty of time to do that."

Spain's interest in Benitez was reported at the time.

Benitez said: “There was maybe a chance, but still I'm here and I'm happy to be here."

Asked how close he came to taking the job on a temporary basis, Benitez said: "There was a chance. There were rumours about that."