Rafa Benitez has been confirmed as the new manager of Dalian Yifang, just two days after his contract with Newcastle United expired.
The Spaniard left St. James' Park after failing to agree terms to a new deal, with Benitez releasing a statement in which he insisted he wanted to stay '100% at Newcastle', but admitted he and owner Mike Ashley 'had different views in terms of how to move forward, I couldn't see this support.'
Benitez is now set to double the salary he earned with the Magpies in China, where he will earn
£12m-a-year as head coach of the Blue Hawks.
Speaking on his exit from Newcastle, Benitez told the Times: “I wanted to stay, 100 per cent.
“I wanted to develop a project but you have to have the tools. If you don’t, then you suffer because you’re at the bottom of the table. That's something I couldn’t manage for another three years.
“I couldn’t stay there just to be bottom. It wasn’t my idea when I went to Newcastle. The idea was the top ten, top eight and then maybe try for Europe later on.
“If the people at the top of the club had the same ideas, I would still be there.”
Benitez also admitted he was concerned about the uncertainty surrounding the potential takeover of Newcastle by Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“It was a big problem. In terms of my decision, I was waiting and I was asking for clarity and we didn’t know.
“Eventually, you have to decide. I could not continue in the same way, because I couldn’t see how to progress.
The Spaniard also expressed his disappointment that the club did not warn him about their statement announcing his departure from the club.
“I knew I was leaving but it was the fact they didn’t say, ‘OK, we understand that and we’re putting out a statement’.
“It was a simple thing they could have done.
“I’m sad because Newcastle has been my home. To have that connection with a city and fans, it’s strange and difficult to lose that. I feel like an honorary Geordie now.”