Former Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez was confirmed as the new boss of Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang on Tuesday, and fans of the St James’ Park outfit have been reacting on social media to the news.
The Spaniard was an extremely popular figure among the Magpies’ support base, having secured their return to the Premier League at the first time of asking when he took over, before stabilising the club in the top flight, but having left Tyneside last week he was not out of work for very long.
Throughout his tenure as Newcastle boss, Benitez was constantly involved in disputes with owner Mike Ashley about a lack of support in the transfer market, which the former Liverpool and Chelsea manager often complained was holding the club back, accusing them of not matching his ambition.
The longer time went on without a change of ownership at the Magpies, the more you got the impression that the Spaniard would end up departing and that is the case.
Any hope the Newcastle fans had of him coming back under a new regime is over though, with Benitez appointed as the manager of Chinese outfit Dalian Yifang, where he is expected to earn a whopping £12 million-per-year.
That has left him facing criticism that he has only left the Magpies for the money, although the view of some is why shouldn’t he accept such an offer when he is now out of work?
Newcastle fans have been reacting to his appointment on social media, with plenty wishing him well, while some have questioned the move, believing that he is better than a job at a league which is relatively unestablished compared to the Premier League.
There was a real mix of messages regarding the development, the pick of which you can catch up with below.
I think it’s possible to both love Rafa Benitez for everything he’s done, be entirely on his side in relation to his contract expiry and feel he’s justified in leaving…
…but also side-eye him STRONGLY and question him for leaving for money in the Chinese Super League #NUFC
— adam (@TastyInnit) July 2, 2019
Rafa Benitez has copped out for five years now. At Newcastle if they did badly he was free from blame. Now he’s going to China. Lack of ambition on the man is pathetic. #nufc
— Jordan Davies (@jordandavies09) July 2, 2019
My opinion is that if Benitez's first choice was to take the money and run to China, he would've done it earlier rather than wait for #nufc to publicly say "We don't want him anymore"
Though I suspect others will think differently, especially given the size of the salary
— Charles Crook (@chlcrk) July 2, 2019
All my Benitez windows are now closed, I’ve moved on.#NUFC
— Alex Porter (@VJ_Alex_Porter) July 2, 2019
When Rafa Benitez achieved 10th, that was the moment he should have been backed. He was given Muto (for shirt sales) and loaned Rondon. No commiment to him so why would he stay? Almiron was too little, too late. #nufc
— NUFC Away (@NUFC_1987) July 2, 2019
Good luck Rafa. Hope that you return to NUFC one day under a better owner.
— Kayleigh K (@kayleighk7) July 2, 2019
Thank you for giving us a few years of being @NUFC again, instead of Sports Direct United. God Bless Rafa. Ashley Out.
— Alex Tempest (@GeordieCowboyAl) July 2, 2019
Im conflicted. I love rafa BUT i just can't see how chinese football is seen as a project to him. Its literally going no where. Fully respect the decision but you can see where the cynicism comes from. #nufc
— Rob Gilbert-Ovens (@Thegeordiefaith) July 2, 2019
Good luck 👍 Rafa . Get that money and see you back in Europe soon. You deserve better mate
— TkaySW6 (@Tkaynoel) July 2, 2019
— Carole Bateman (@CabInStelling) July 2, 2019