From Madrid to Newcastle – What made Rafa Benitez join the Premier League strugglers?


There is a reason why Football is hailed as an unpredictable game, and perhaps the best example this season has been Rafa Benitez going on from managing Real Madrid to be in charge of Newcastle United in space of 9 months.

With all due respect to Newcastle United and their fans, Real Madrid will always remain European football’s bigger force than the Magpies. Benitez, however, will be under a similar pressure like he was with Los Blancos given Newcastle’s relegation fight this season, with only 10 games left.

Despite signing the 3-year contract with a break clause, it was a bold move for Benitez to take up the challenge of guiding Newcastle United to safety and then take them further in coming seasons.

Benitez must have thought long and hard before deciding to join Newcastle, specially after his reputation being on immediate threat following his sacking from Bernabeu. But there could be a greater story developing at St James’ Park with Benitez eyeing FULL CONTROL of a football club, which he has rarely had in his career.

What made Rafa Benitez join a struggling Newcastle side?
                 Rafa in his first training session with the players

Leading up to his first game vs. Leicester, Benitez discussed what all he wants to change at the club, and how he can make Newcastle function in a better way. Sharing his conversation with the club Chairman Lee Charnley, Benitez said“I was telling him my ideas and it was quite similar in a lot of ways.

“People can be worried about whether I am called the manager or if I have the final say in signings, but that is not a big issue.

“If I am here it is because they trust me and if I am here it is because they want to listen to me, they want to improve and want to do things in a certain way. For me that is positive.”

He added: “We will talk about football, we will talk about players, and I think we will be fine. I understand why the club is going in this direction.

“I have to explain why we have to change a little bit, and I think that will be good for everyone.”

There you have it, before even the ball is being kicked, Rafa has laid down the plans of being in control of a football club and running it like he wants.

Benitez can play his brand of football with Newcastle

At Real Madrid, Benitez was judged and eventually executed for not delivering beautiful football, but playing beautiful was never Rafa’s strongest suite, was it? It has always been about winning matches and putting points on the table for the Spaniard.

Benitez is among the list of 11 elite managers who have achieved a 50% or better winning rate in Premier League matches, which shows his knack of winning football matches. Best thing for the Spaniard is that, he now is at a club where style of football rarely matters, it is about getting results, specially in the upcoming 10 games.

Benitez also knows if he could survive the drop this season, he will have close to £80million to spend on transfers and he will have one of the best fans in Premier League behind him.

It may have looked a bleak call at first by the former Liverpool and Chelsea manager, but if you look at it closely, he could be about to embark on a long and successful journey in a league, which he knows all so well.

He will have the license to play his brand of football without any GALACTICO expectation, and certainly his words will be the last and most heard inside St James’ Park. For me, it is a win-win situation for Rafa Benitez.

Image Credit: Getty