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Spain wanted to loan Rafael Benitez for the World Cup finals

Newcastle were sounded out about the possibility of loaning manager Rafael Benitez to Spain for the World Cup finals. Credit: PA

Newcastle were sounded out about the possibility of loaning manager Rafael Benitez to Spain for the World Cup finals.

Press Association Sport understands the Spanish Football Association contacted the Magpies after sacking manager Julen Lopetegui just two days before his side were due to launch their campaign in Russia following an announcement he was to leave his post after the tournament to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid.

However, sources on Tyneside have indicated their interest never went beyond that initial enquiry and it was former skipper Fernando Hierro who eventually took temporary charge.

Spain were dumped out of the competition in the last 16 by hosts Russia and have since appointed former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique on a two-year contract.

Benitez, 58, has admitted in the past that the national job could appeal one day, although he remains focused on Newcastle during what has been a difficult summer.

Asked at the club's pre-season training camp at Carton House in Ireland if he could have taken charge of his country at the World Cup finals, he told the Chronicle: "There was maybe a chance, but still I am here and I am happy to be here. There was a chance. There were rumours about that."