Rafa Benitez was interviewed in China yesterday. The interview took place before Dalian Yifang faced Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese FA Cup semi-final. Benitez talked of hopes of winning silverware in his first season with Dalian, but they would end up losing 3-2.
The interview is in Xinhua Net and Rafa again references why he left Newcastle this summer. He mostly seems to want to make it abundantly clear that it was not for the money.
Rafa again mentions his desire for a project and to build something. He also mentions the training ground and youth system at Dalian Yifang. This is what Rafa Benitez has said in his interview about leaving Newcastle:
“I was not happy when he was talking about me leaving Newcastle because of the money. I said no to very, very big offers, and even last year, I was saying no to big offers, but I decided to stay because of the fans, the city, and the potential.
“We were waiting for a solution at Newcastle which was not forthcoming. We had options, but when we had to decide, it was a very simple decision because Dalian was the best option we had.
“People were saying it was big money, but Dalian were pushing really hard to get me and my staff, and we are really pleased because they showed so much interest.”
“I am a professional, and I want to win, but I also want to build something and leave a legacy.
“The training ground and the project with the youth system is amazing.
This year, we are creating schools for 6-10 year-olds, bringing in coaches from Spain, so we will organize everything in terms of the academy and youth system.”
Rafa seems to have wanted it to work at Newcastle and we don’t doubt that he turned away interest from other clubs during his tenure.
Charnley recently spoke about how the club were concentrating on players as the priority for the moment. He also stated that there was not enough money for both transfers and upgrading the training facilities.
These latest comments may be in reference to Charnley’s about the facilities at Newcastle.
Rafa also continued in his interview to talk about how the fans at Dalian Yifang are similar to fans at both Liverpool and Newcastle. There is a big difference, however, as Dalian Yifang, as a club, are only a decade old while Liverpool and Newcastle were both founded in 1892.
This is what Rafa has said about the fans in China:
“The Dalian fans are very similar to Liverpool or Newcastle fans because they are passionate, they love the team, and what they want is a team that cares and works hard. So what should they expect?
“A team that tries to win, a team that will be competitive and will care, and I think the fans will appreciate that. Hopefully, we can see something good so we will be in the final of the Cup!”
It does appear as though Rafa is referencing Newcastle fans’ motto under Ashley of “We don’t demand a team that wins, we demand a club that tries!”
We will have to wait and see if Ashley has Lee Charnley respond to Rafa’s latest comments. They are hardly vindictive, and we hope that Newcastle does not feel the need to issue a response. It was Lee Charnley who fired the first shot, which was entirely out of the blue and unnecessary.
Newcastle have more pressing concerns right now than anything Rafa Benitez has to say. We would hope that Charnley and Co. are looking at viable transfer targets for the January window where there should be plenty of funds available.
While it is only two games into the season, Charnley must also be prepared for the worst-case scenario if Steve Bruce turns out not to be the man for the job. He must have a list of potential coaching targets ready.
He cannot wait until March this time if we are stuck in a relegation battle. It will be too late and there will be no Rafa Benitez knocking on the door this time.