BREAKING NEWS: Benitez confirmed as new Newcastle boss


Newcastle United have appointed Rafael Benitez as their new manager on a three-year contract.

The Spaniard succeeds Steve McClaren, who was sacked earlier on Friday after nine months in the job, and is tasked with preserving Newcastle's top-flight status with the club 19th, one point adrift of safety.

Benitez has been itching to return to the Premier League after a six-year spell at Liverpool, with whom he won the Champions League in 2005 and the FA Cup a year later, and a six-month interim role at Chelsea, which resulted in him landing the 2013 Europa League title.

Since leaving Stamford Bridge three years ago, he spent two seasons with Napoli before being named Real Madrid boss in June 2015. The 55-year-old struggled for acceptance at the Santiago Bernabeu, however, and was dismissed in January with the club third in La Liga.

Benitez said: "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.

"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 said: "I am very pleased to welcome Rafa Benitez to the club. 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.

"Our sole focus now is to give our full support to Rafa, his coaching team and the players in order to secure our status in the Premier League."