Rafael Benitez has signed an initial three-year deal at St James’ Park
Spaniard travelled to the North-East on Friday after Steve McClaren sacked
His first match in charge will be Monday night’s trip to Leicester City
The Tyne-Wear derby against Sunderland then takes place a week later
Rafa Benitez has called on the ‘Toon Army’ to help secure Newcastle United’s Premier League future after he was confirmed as manager on a three-year deal.
Sportsmail revealed on Tuesday that the Spaniard was on a shortlist of one to replace the outgoing Steve McClaren, who was finally sacked on Friday morning with the team second from bottom in the table.
Benitez then arrived at St James’ Park after lunchtime and was confirmed as boss before heading to the club’s training ground to meet his new players.
Rafael Benitez poses with a Newcastle United shirt after being confirmed as the club’s new manager
Benitez holds aloft a Newcastle United scarf pitchside at St James’ Park after being appointed manager
The Spaniard leaves St James’ Park again following confirmation he has signed a three-year contract
Rafael Benitez poses with the Newcastle United shirt alongside the club’s managing director Lee Charnley
Benitez waves to the cameras after arriving at Newcastle’s Darsley Park training ground on Friday
Newcastle United players Fabricio Coloccini (left) and Jonjo Shelvey (right) arrive at the training ground
Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley arrives at St James’ Park ready for the arrival of Benitez
NEWCASTLE UNITED FIXTURES
March 14 Leicester City (A)
March 20 Sunderland (H)
April 2 Norwich City (A)
April 9 Southampton (A)
April 16 Swansea City (H)
April 23 Liverpool (A)
April 30 Crystal Palace (H)
May 7 Aston Villa (A)
May 15 Tottenham (H)
The 55-year-old, who will take training this weekend before Monday’s trip to Leicester, 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!’
Managing director Lee Charnley added: ‘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.
Steve McClaren, pictured at the training ground on Thursday, was sacked on Friday morning
Newcastle United are sat in 19th place in the Premier League, a point from safety
Last Saturday’s 3-1 home loss to Bournemouth proved the last act of McClaren’s tenure
McCLAREN AT NEWCASTLE
Appointed: June 10, 2015
Matches: 31 Won: 7 Drawn: 6 Lost: 18
Win percentage: 22.6 per cent
‘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.’
Benitez – who it is understood has a break clause should Newcastle be relegated – will bring with him backroom staff Fabio Pecchia, Francisco de Míguel Moreno, Antonio Gómez Pérez, who will join Ian Cathro and Simon Smith.
Paul Simpson, Alessandro Schoenmaker and Steve Black have left along with McClaren, who learned of his fate following a phone call with Charnley.
A statement confirming McClaren’s exit read: ‘After the defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday the club has spent some time considering its position and has today concluded that Steve McClaren’s employment with the club will end with immediate effect.
The manager’s parking space lies empty at Newcastle United’s Darsley Park training centre
‘We acknowledge that reaching this decision has taken a number of days and that this has caused uncertainty for everyone involved, in particular for Steve and the players, for which we apologise.
‘However we felt that this time was necessary to ensure the right decisions were reached with the best interests of the club at heart.’
Charnley said: ‘I would like to thank Steve personally for his services to Newcastle United. He is a man of integrity and class and he has conducted himself with great dignity during this difficult time.
‘Steve worked tirelessly to try and bring success to Newcastle United. He has the utmost respect of all the players, staff and management and he leaves with our very best wishes and sincere thanks.
‘We feel that a change is now needed in order to give the club the best possible chance of securing its Premier League future.’
Sportsmail revealed on Tuesday that Benitez was on a shortlist of one to replace McClaren. Talks had begun earlier in the day and continued throughout the week, with both parties indicating a willingness to get the deal done before the weekend.
Benitez will be confirmed as manager as opposed to head coach and will have more control over transfers than his predecessors.
His first home game will be the Tyne-Wear derby against Sunderland a week on Sunday.
Benitez guided Liverpool to Champions League glory against Milan in Istanbul back in 2005
During his temporary spell in charge of Chelsea, Benitez won the Europa League
Dejected Newcastle United players prepare to kick off during their 3-1 loss to Bournemouth on Saturday
RAFA BENITEZ’S CV
1993-1995 Real Madrid B
Win percentage: 38.71
14.29 per cent
27.27 per cent
39.13 per cent
Segunda division promotion 1997-98
50 per cent
Segunda division promotion 2000-01
54.32 per cent
La Liga 2001-02, 2003-04
UEFA Cup 2003-04
56 per cent
Champions League 2004-05
UEFA Super Cup 2005
FA Cup 2005-06
FA Community Shield 2006
2010 Inter Milan
48 per cent
Italian Super Cup 2010
FIFA Club World Cup 2010
2012-2013 Chelsea (Interim)
58.33 per cent
Europa League 2012-13
52.68 per cent
Italian Cup 2013-14
Italian Super Cup 2014
2015-2016 Real Madrid
68 per cent
Source: Daily Mail