OFFICIAL: Newcastle appoint Benitez

Newcastle United have appointed former Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez as their new manager on a three-year contract.

Speculation had arisen on Thursday that an agreement had been reached between the two parties, and the 55-year-old arrived at St James’ Park the following day, before being confirmed as Steve McClaren’s successor barely a few hours later.

“I have the pleasure to confirm I have committed to a legendary English club, with the massive challenge of remaining part of the Premier League,” he told Newcastle’s official website.

“It will be a challenge not just for me and my staff but for the players, the Club and the fans.

“All of us must push together in the same direction and with the same target in mind.

“This is the reason why I'm going to ask for your total support to successfully complete this task.

“Personally, it means my return to the Premier League, closer to my home and my family. I can’t be happier.

“C’mon Toon Army! The club and I need your total involvement!”

Benitez, who previously managed Liverpool and Chelsea in the Premier League, is also understood to have agreed an opt-out clause if Newcastle are relegated this season, with the club languishing in the bottom three after 28 games.

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Tags Newcastle United Premier League Rafa Benitez