07:30 14 Aug 2019
Rafael Benitez has explained that “unfulfilled promises” were one of the main reasons behind his decision to part ways with Premier League club Newcastle United.
The manager failed to agree a contract extension with club owner Mike Ashley at the end of June and left for a job with Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang.
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Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley claimed in their opening weekend’s matchday programme that Benitez had left “for money” but the former Real Madrid and Liverpool boss rejected this in his column for The Athletic.
“Newcastle’s board had a year to sort out my contract but, when we met after the end of last season, they didn’t make me an offer I could accept,” Benitez wrote.
“They told me they didn’t want to invest in the academy or the training ground… I can explain the reason why Mike Ashley refused to do that.
“Their idea of a project was a policy of signing players under 24 and… the budget available was not enough to compete for the top 10. After that meeting, I knew they would not come back with a serious offer.
“When it arrived, 19 days later, it was for the same salary as three years earlier and with less control over signings. After three years of unfulfilled promises, I didn’t trust them.”
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Benitez had three full seasons in charge of the Magpies: in the first he earned promotion back to the top-flight, before defying expectations to finish in 10th and 13th places in the past two campaigns, when Newcastle had been tipped as likely relegation candidates.
“When we finished 10th in the Premier League in our first season back, all players and staff were paid a bonus – aside from my coaching team,” Benitez added.
“That felt like a punishment for me not signing an extension. So, by the end, I knew there would not be a proper offer and they knew I was not signing.
“The time was passing and we were losing job opportunities in Europe. I couldn’t wait forever. I’m a family man and I have a responsibility to them, my staff… and their families, too. I don’t like to gamble with the future of my people.”