Rafa Benitez has ruled out a return to Spain as he plots his next move in football – but has opened the door to a job in England or Italy.
The former Newcastle United boss ended an 18-month stint in China back in January, leaving the CSL side to be closer to his family during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since then, he’s been linked with a return to Tyneside and has admitted to rejecting a host of unnamed offers – although it’s fair to say he won’t be back at St James’ Park anytime soon if Mike Ashley fails to sell up!
Speaking to Sky Sports in Italy, here’s what he had to say about his future plans – hinting that he’ll only join a club capable of competing for trophies:
“The memory of Naples is fantastic, as well as the relationship I had with the city and the fans,”
“I spent two years in which Juventus dominated, and we have won two titles. De Laurentiis? He is a visionary.
“I remember that he took the plane and came to London to talk to me, because he had this idea: to hire a coach-manager with a sports director like Riccardo Bigon and work together to change the mentality of the club.”
“I like to compete, I like to win; however at the same time I can work with young people because I am a ‘professor’,”
“In Spain, at the moment, it is not possible to think about carrying out a project and trying to win something. In Italy and England, on the other hand, it can be done.
“It is still too early to know what will happen in the future, but it is clear that Italy and England are places where I have been well.”
It’s quite telling that he’s only focused on a job that allows him to ‘win something’. With this mentality, it’s easy to see why he gave up on Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United when new owners didn’t arrive almost two years ago now.
His family home in the Wirral may tempt him to stay in England, but it’s difficult to know what Premier League job he’d take.
West Ham and Leicester have been regularly linked, but the former are flying under Moyes and the Foxes doing brilliantly under Brendan Rodgers.
The Spurs job is open, however I can’t see them going for another pragmatic manager after Tottenham fans grew tired of Mourinho’s brand of football.
Would you have him back on Tyneside if a takeover went through? I certainly would.