The Spanish manager was asked about his summer exit from the Magpies and owner Mike Ashley suggesting he left to get the bigger pay-day in China when interviewed by the Daily Mail, and Benitez pointed out he wouldn’t have stayed and managed the club in the Championship if football was all about money for him.
However Benitez then quickly said he didn’t want to create more mess around the situation surrounding his exit by talking any more about the club and pointed out he didn’t want the Toon Army to think he was speaking about his former club too much.
“I wouldn’t have stayed in the Championship and said no to massive offers if I was just thinking about that,” said Benitez in issue 307 of Four Four Two (December 2019, page 45).
“I waited until the last minute this summer.
“But I don’t want to create more mess around the situation by talking more about it.
“I don’t want the fans thinking, ‘Rafa is talking too much about Newcastle,’
“Now’s the time to move forward.”
It is amusing that Benitez couldn’t resist dismissing Ashley’s suggestion that he left Newcastle due to there being other clubs who’d pay him a bigger wage, as it shows how offended the manager was. After all, the Spaniard quickly made clear he doesn’t want to talk about leaving St James Park as him discussing the subject doesn’t do his former side any favours. Aside from it being clear Benitez has been upset by how Ashley publicly handled his departure, the Spaniard’s class also shines through. Benitez wants himself and the Magpies to move on, and pretty much states that he doesn’t want to talk about the Magpies in case he upset the fans, and that’s just classy as there will always be someone trying to get a story out of him on the matter. Steve Bruce was appointed as Benitez’s successor and while his arrival wasn’t celebrated, he hasn’t done a bad job. The Magpies currently sit 13th in the Premier League and are unbeaten in their last three league games.