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Fan favorite Rafa Benitez will not return from Newcastle despite pressure on current boss Steve Bruce

No Newcastle return for favorite Rafa Benitez despite pressure on current boss Steve Bruce – because Spaniard’s bitter relationship with owner Mike Ashley would make reconciliation IMPOSSIBLE

  • Rafa Benitez left Newcastle in 2019 on bad terms with owner Mike Ashley
  • The former Liverpool boss remains a popular figure on the North East side
  • He would like to jump back into management right away after leaving Dalian Pro

Rafa Benitez is poised to return to the Premier League after leaving Dalian Professional in China, but despite the pressure on Steve Bruce, is not lining up for a return to Newcastle.

The bitterness between Benitez and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley was so great by the time the Spaniard left the Northeast in 2019 that reconciliation would be impossible, although Benitez remains hugely popular with fans.

Benitez is not expected to be in the running for the Celtic track, preferring to bide his time and watch the Premier League market unfold.

Rafa Benitez is ready to return to the Premier League after leaving Dalian Professional

Rafa Benitez is ready to return to the Premier League after leaving Dalian Professional

The bitterness between Benitez and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley (left) makes reconciliation almost impossible

The bitterness between Benitez and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley (left) makes any reconciliation nearly impossible

The bitterness between Benitez and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley (left) makes reconciliation almost impossible

But the former Real Madrid coach is keen to return to management soon as his £ 15m-a-year spell in China comes to an end.

A return to Serie A – where he had a successful two-year spell at Napoli – is possible, but Benitez would rather be close to his family in Merseyside.

Benitez’s time in China was hugely disrupted by Covid-19, delaying last season. His team had to spend weeks at a training camp in Spain before being released back into the country early last year, after which Benitez was quarantined in Hong Kong for three weeks before he could join his side.

He is therefore not in line to replace current underfire manager Steve Bruce at the club

He is therefore not in line to replace current underfire manager Steve Bruce at the club

He is therefore not in line to replace current underfire manager Steve Bruce at the club

And the prospect of an additional 28 days of isolation upon his return next month made the job unfeasible.

After Benitez was appointed in 2019, the Super League’s financial rules changed – meaning Dalian’s billionaire owner Wang Jianlin was unable to make the expected investments in players.

But Benitez has left the club on amicable terms and is expected to return as an ambassador once Covid declines.

Benitez - who left the Northeast in 2019 - remains hugely popular with the club's fan base

Benitez - who left the Northeast in 2019 - remains hugely popular with the club's fan base

Benitez – who left the Northeast in 2019 – remains hugely popular with the club’s fan base

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