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A little Rafa reality from our sports correspondent: Newcastle are still in the Championship

Benitez signs new three year deal and says the "love from the fans" swayed him

Newcastle United are have confirmed that Rafa Benitez will remain as Newcastle United manager, after signing a new three-year contract.

The deal commits the Spaniard to Tyneside until at least the summer of 2019.

The club say Benitez will have day-to-day responsibility for all football-related matters at the club.

The 56-year-old took charge of the team for the final ten games of the 2015/16 season.

Benitez said:

I am extremely pleased to be staying at Newcastle United.

The love I could feel from the fans was a big influence for me in my decision to stay, as was my relationship with Lee Charnley and all the staff.

This is a huge club and I wanted to be part of the great future I can see for Newcastle United."

– Rafael Benitez

Managing director Lee Charnley added:

"When we brought Rafa to the club in March, we knew he was a phenomenal manager and everything we have seen from him since has only served to reinforce that.

"We are therefore delighted to have secured his services for the next three years and I believe with Rafa as manager it gives us the best possible chance of returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking and delivering success for this football club beyond that.

"It is clear that Rafa has connected deeply with the club's supporters and we do not underestimate the role they have played in his decision to stay.

"He has captured the hearts and minds not just of the fans, but of everyone who has had the pleasure of working with him at the club thus far.

"As a world-class manager we had no doubt in our minds as to the importance of retaining him at Newcastle United."


A look back to Rafa Benitez's first press conference

As Newcastle United call a press conference where they're expected to confirm Rafa Benitez is staying as manager, we've looked back at his first media appearance at the club.

When asked why he took the job, Spanaird said that "the atmosphere has always been fantastic for the local team" at St James's Park.


Rafa Benitez pictured at St James's Park

The Spaniard is expected to be confirmed as manager this afternoon Credit: North News

Rafa Benitez has been pictured at St James's Park this afternoon.

Newcastle United are today expected to confirm that the Spaniard is staying on as Manager in the Championship.

The 56-year-old had a break clause in his contract allowing him to leave in the event of relegation and it was initially thought he would move on this summer.

The club are expected to make an official announcement this afternoon.

Benitez 'agrees to stay' at Newcastle

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez Credit: PA

Newcastle United are today expected to confirm that Rafa Benitez is staying on as Manager in the Championship.

The vastly experienced Spaniard had a break clause in his contract allowing him to leave in the event of relegation and it was initially thought he would move on this summer.

But the 56-year old believes he can make a success of the job on Tyneside after receiving assurances about his role within the club.

Benitez also admitting the fantastic reception he was given by Newcastle fans, even after relegation, helped convince him to stay.

This is what he said after the Magpies final game of the season, the 5-1 win over Spurs on May 15th.

Former Newcastle player David Ginola 'recovering' after quadruple heart bypass

Former Newcastle player David Ginola declared himself "fine" on Friday after regaining consciousness following a quadruple heart bypass operation overnight - at least that's what was tweeted from his social media account.

The tweet said he had "never slept better" after collapsing while playing football on Thursday.

The 49-year-old attending a celebrity golf tournament in Mandelieu on the French Riviera.

He was taken to the Monaco Cardio-Thoracic Centre, where he was operated on by Professor Gilles Dreyfus.

Professor Dreyfus, quoted in local newspaper Var-Matin, clarified Ginola had not suffered a heart attack but said the coronary arteries supplying blood to the heart had been affected.

"He arrived in a catastrophic state.

"He was unconscious and did not remember anything.

"But it is going well. I have been able to talk to him. He does not show any neurological after-effects.

"He did not have a heart attack but he had very complicated coronary lesions which required us to perform a quadruple bypass. We began the operation at 1900 and finished between 0100 and 0130 (local time, from 1800 to between midnight and 0030 BST)"

– Professor Dreyfus

Townsend hoping Rafa will stay at Newcastle

Newcastle United winger Andros Townsend is hoping Rafael Benitez will remain at the club 'for a few more years'.

Despite Magpies being relegated to the Championship, the Spaniard is understood to be in advanced talks about the possibility of staying at St James' Park next season.

Townsend, who has been training with the England squad ahead of Euro 2016, is hopeful Benitez will commit his future to Newcastle.

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