Rafael Benitez has said that he wanted to stay on as manager of Newcastle United, but blamed ‘those at the top of the club’ for his departure.
Benitez’s contract with Newcastle expired on Sunday, leaving the Magpies yet again on the search for a new manager, with Gary Monk currently the favourite to replace him at St. James Park.
In an early morning statement released by the former Liverpool and Chelsea boss, the Spaniard laid the blame of his departure firmly at the door of the clubs hierarchy, in what seems like a thinly veiled dig at controversial owner Mike Ashley.
“Dear NUFC fans. Thank you for three fantastic, exciting and, at times, challenging years,” a statement reads.
“What we have had here – your support, your affection and your passion – has been unbelievable for me.
“St James’ Park has been always special, the 5-1 win against Tottenham , 15-05-2016, was so emotional that since that day I have always felt as though I belonged at Newcastle and I thank you for making me feel so welcome and at home.
“Thank you to everyone at the club who has helped the team and of course to the fine players who grew and fought with us and to the staff (One of the best I have ever shared time with).
“From winning the Championship, to our two season in the Premier League, fans, staff and players have all been United. I wanted to stay, but I didn’t just want to sign an extended contract, I wanted to be part of a project.
“Unfortunately, it became increasingly clear to me that those at the top of the Club did not share the same vision.
“I’m very sad about that, but I do not regret for one moment my decision to come to Tyneside and I’m very proud about what we achieved together.
“I will always have you in my heart. Best of luck for the future. C’mon Toons!”
— Rafa Benitez Web (@rafabenitezweb) July 1, 2019