There’s news today that one of Rafa Benitez’s former players at Valencia has backed him to return to Newcastle under the new owners.
But the headlines about this are much more “sensational” than the facts, and it’s merely an opinion expressed by former Valencia star Miguel Angel Angulo.
Miguel is now 42 and was at Valencia from 1996 through 2009.
Rafa gained his initial fame at Valencia as their manager from 2001 through 2004.
During that time, he won the La Liga twice: in 2001–02, and 2003–04, and then the UEFA Cup in 2003–04 before he joined Liverpool on 16th June 2004.
And the rest is history, starting with that miraculous Champions League win with Liverpool in the summer of 2005 in Instanbul.
That’s when Liverpool were 3-0 down at halftime against AC Milan, managed by Carlo Ancelotti, and came back to make it 3-3 after extra time and eventually won the game on penalties.
An amazing game.
Rafa (shown above) is still revered by fans at Valencia, Liverpool, Napoli, and Newcastle for his great work at those four top clubs.
And fans may be asking what the heck is he doing managing in the Chinese Super League with Dalian?
Miguel Angel Angulo has been speaking to Tribal Football:
“I believe he is one of the greatest managers that Valencia CF have ever had. It was a great experience for us as players, as we learnt a lot under him.
“I think it would be phenomenal for Benitez to return to Newcastle, given how well he knows the club.”
“I know that Benitez was based in England for a long time now but I don’t know the reasons that he left Newcastle the first time around.”
“He has a great reputation in England and he is very hard working too. It would be great if he could return to the Premier League.”
Newcastle fans know all about Rafa Benitez, and it would be great to have him back at the club.
After all, it was his vision and blueprint that seems to have been picked up by Amanda Staveley and the consortium she is leading to buy Newcastle United.
But he is not available and has a contract through the end of next year at Chinese Super League club Dalian with a reported £20M release clause.
He is supposed to be getting £12M/year free of taxes.
48-year-old former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is the favorite to lead the charge forward under new managers.
We were gutted when Rafa left last June, and a bit upset when he left the club.
Let’s rephrase that a little.
We were gutted when Rafa left last June and extremely upset and disappointed when he left deserted the club.
But we would still welcome him back with open arms, and some fans who were annoyed he left us would quickly get behind the Spanish manager.
After all, he got the Newcastle fan base and the City 100% behind the club, and it was awesome.
The football he plays could be more exciting, but any player who plays for Rafa Benitez must show passions and 100% effort all the time – otherwise, he has a short career under the 60-year-old.