The Spaniard walked away from St. James’ Park after failing to agree to an extension on the deal he signed back in 2016, but Cascarino has questioned his motives after it was announced that he would be moving to China.
Speaking on talkSPORT, he said:”We know that he’s made a hell of a lot of money in football over the last 20 odd years, and rightly so, and I don’t believe Newcastle’s offer wasn’t nothing short of being very decent.
“I’m sure Newcastle pushed the boat out for Rafa.
“To turn round and say they didn’t have the same vision and then go to China, I think you’ve just watered down your argument.”
On the face of it, Cascarino might have a point, but the fact of the matter is that he has massively oversimplified the issue. Turning round and painting Benitez as some kind of money-grabbing opportunist papers over the gaping chasms that have opened up on Tyneside, and goes a long way towards absolving Mike Ashley of any blame one again. Yes, the Chinese league is a step down for Rafa, and no, he probably wouldn’t have gone if he wasn’t getting paid the defence budget of a small nation every month, but the fact of the matter is that his next move has nothing to do with the adverse working conditions that he was subject to at Newcastle. The Magpies could have offered Benitez double what he will be paid in China, but if he doesn’t feel as if he has a hope of progressing on Tyneside, or that he could potentially struggle to keep the club up altogether, what’s the point in him staying?