Rafa Benitez has been unveiled as the new manager of Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, following his recent departure from Newcastle United.
Benitez has wasted little time in deciding on his next venture, after agreeing to the move to Asia on a lucrative contract. The Champions League winning boss has penned a huge £12million-a-year deal with the club, who made him their number one target.
Due to Benitez leaving Newcastle following the expiration of his contract, no compensation has to be paid to the club. Benitez took to his personal Twitter account to confirm the news of his new venture. ‘After a long path… we start a new challenge! I’m happy to begin this project with Dalian Yifang,’ wrote the former Liverpool boss.
An accompanying short video then showed the various clubs Benitez has managed during his career, with a series of photos spanning the eras. Things have moved fast within the last week, after Newcastle issued a statement on Monday, June 24, confirming Benitez would be leaving once his deal expires.
The news brought backlash from supporters, who hit out at owner Mike Ashley and once again questioned the ambition of the club. Benitez himself issued a personal statement thanking fans for continually getting behind him while admitting his did want to stay at St James’ Park but confusion around the club’s future made things difficult. ‘It was a big problem,’ Benitez said. ‘In terms of my decision, I was waiting and I was asking for clarity and, like the fans, we didn’t know.
Eventually, you have to decide. I could not continue in the same way, because I couldn’t see how to progress. It had to be clear to me — who was the owner, what would they do — and it wasn’t clear at any time. ‘When I came to Newcastle, they gave me the plans for the new training ground, I was talking to the architect about changing a few things,’ he continued. ‘And after three years… they painted the walls.
‘If you want to attract players, it’s about the facilities, the contract, the city, the way you treat them, the way you treat the agents.
‘If you want to keep them happy, you keep improving. If you want to have a good atmosphere, a real bond, you have to give players the right facilities for when they hang around together. We had that at a lot of clubs. It’s just the way,’ he added.