Rafa Benitez reacts after Dalian Pro exit with Steve Bruce under-pressure at Newcastle United

Former Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has called time on his spell in the Chinese Super League with Dalian Pro.

Saturday, 23rd January 2021, 1:15 pm

Ongoing fears surrounding the coronavirus pandemic have ultimately cut Benitez’s stay in the far east short as he looks to stay with his family in England.

The 60-year-old left The Magpies after failing to agree a contract extension at the end of the 2018-19 season and subsequently joined Dalian.

And after a 15-month spell in China, the Spaniard is now free and available once again but isn’t believed to have anything lined up just yet.

Dalian Yifang's head coach Rafael Benitez looks on during the Chinese Super League (CSL) football match( (Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Following his departure, Benitez released a statement via his own website: “Unfortunately, like so many things in the last year, Covid-19 has changed our lives and our projects. From today, both my coaching staff and I will sadly no longer be coaching the Dalian Professional F. C.

“It has been an incredible experience and for this I would like to thank all my staff, coaches, medical and club staff as well as our players; their commitment to us in the first place, their support during the time we were there, and their effort has been magnificent.

“The pandemic is still here, for all of us, and supporting our families has been a priority when making this decision.”

Back on Tyneside, there have been sustained calls to sack current Newcastle boss Steve Bruce following a nine game winless run in all competitions.

The United boss is currently the bookies favourite to be the next Premier League manager out of the door.

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Newcastle United coverage 365 days a year.

We’ve launched a new transfer window special offer for readers to get 20% off our subscription package.

Use the promo code TRANSFER20 to sign up here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor