Relegation-haunted Newcastle United have confirmed the appointment of former Liverpool and Real Madrid boss Rafael Benitez as their new manager.
The confirmation of Benitez as the new man at the top came just hours after the sacking of Steve McClaren.
The Magpies Friday announced that they had parted ways with McClaren who won only seven of his 32 matches with the club this season since taking over last summer.
Benitez’s last job was with 10-time European champions Real Madrid, he now has the daunting task of rescuing the Magpies who are 19th in the Premier League and are battling for survival with only 10 games of the season remaining.
“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,” Benitez, who has signed a three-year contract, told the club website.
“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. This is the reason why I’m going to ask for your total support to successfully complete this task.
“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!”
Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley was delighted with the appointment of Benitez.
He added: “In Rafa we have, without doubt, secured the services of one of Europe’s top managers.
“He has managed some of the most successful teams at the very highest level of the game and we are proud to now have him as our manager.”
Benitez’s contract reportedly includes an opt-out clause should he fail to keep the Magpies in the top flight.