Tough times ahead for Benitez in Newcastle

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Rafael Benitez

RAFAEL Benitez is the new manager of Newcastle after succeeding former England coach Steve McLaren at St James’ Park.

The 55-year-old Spaniard has been tasked with helping the struggling side avoid relegation this season and will have a trial by fire as the team, languishing at second bottom, travel to play league leaders Leicester City on Monday March 14.

Benitez is being lauded as a significant coup for the north-eastern side having a wealth of international experience managing the likes of Real Madrid, Inter Milan and of course Liverpool and Chelsea.

He will be handsomely paid for his efforts, with an estimated £700,000 per year salary on a three-year contract with a get-out clause should the club be relegated. Staying in the Premier League this season will garner him a reputed £2 million bonus.

“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 said. “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. 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!”

It certainly is a change in dynamic for the Madrid man who was at the helm of the Galacticos just two months ago before being replaced by club legend Zinedine Zidane. He now takes charge of a club that has a mere six league victories to its name this season and is tainted by turmoil over controversial between the ownership and fanbase.

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