Rafa Benitez shocked Alan Shearer in May when the Spanish manager decided to stay on at Newcastle and manage in the second division of England, after he was manager of Real Madrid – one of the iconic clubs in world football – less than a year ago.
Alan didn’t think a manager of such esteem as Rafa would be willing to go down with the club – but he did – and the Newcastle manager did a good job of shrugging off questions about that from the media saying he simply wanted to coach – that’s what he liked doing.
Rafa Benitez – he wants to keep two players on Tyneside
Gini Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko
And for a club with the massive untapped potential of a Newcastle United, he obviously thinks it was worth it – and there’s always the advantage he is only an hour via helicopter away from his wife and two teenage daughters who live in the Wirral, just outside of Liverpool.
So Rafa is willing to stay at the club and fight to get us back to the Premier League next May at the first attempt and he is now on moral high ground because of that.
He’s in a good position personally to convince players like Moussa Sissoko and Gini Wijnaldum to also stay on Tyneside and help that cause.
Rafa’s a world-class manager based on his record and what he has won in the game – the Champions League, the Europa League twice – the FA Cup and the Spanish League – twice.
There are other trophies he’s won and other near misses – like losing the Champions League final to AC Milan in 2007 – but there’s a sampling of his big wins.
And this man is now at Newcastle?
Moussa and Gini would have a hard time claiming they are world-class players at the moment, although if they stay on at Newcastle under the tutelage of Rafa – they will certainly improve as players.
So Rafa has the ethics on his side – a world-class manager staying at a second division club a year after managing the most recognizable club in world football – Real Madrid – who have won the Champions League (European Cup) 11 times and twice in the last three seasons.
Moussa and Gini should think long and hard about staying at Newcastle next season and any other player Rafa wants to stay on board.
They can help us with the massive promotion drive that will start at Fulham on Friday 5th August at Craven Cottage. and maybe they shouldn’t just be thinking of themselves, as most players do these days – and yes – their agents don’t help things either.
We’d love to be a fly on the wall in Rafa’s office when he talks to each one of these players one-on-one on why they should stay at Newcastle.
Rafa can be quite persuasive when he needs to be.
We’d love to see both Moussa and Gini declare they will stay on board for next season.
Howay The Lads!!