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Rafa Benitez to leave Newcastle United at the end of the month after failing to reach agreement on new deal

Rafa Benitez will leave Newcastle Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Newcastle United have announced that manager Rafa Benitez will leave the club upon expiry of his contract on 30 June 2019.

Benitez, 59, has spent just over three years in charge at St James' Park since replacing Steve McClaren in March 2016.

The club said:

We have worked hard to extend Rafa’s contract over a significant period of time, however it has not been - and will not be - possible to reach an agreement with Rafa and his representatives.

Rafa’s coaching staff, Paco de Míguel Moreno, Antonio Gómez Pérez and Mikel Antia, will also leave the club on 30th June.

We would like to thank Rafa and his coaching team for their efforts over the last three years and their significant contribution to what has been collectively achieved.

We would also like to thank our supporters, players and staff for their patience during a period of uncertainty.

The process to appoint a successor will now begin.

– Newcastle United club spokesperson

The Magpies finished 13th in the Premier League last season as Benitez secured the club's top-flight status.

Here's a timeline of his big moments at the club.

Speaking in May, Rafa spoke about his desire to "match the ambitions of the fans".

Former footballers and fans have been reacting to the news:

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The Magpie Group are planning a 'peaceful protest' at St James Park.

This fan speaks for many in his utter bewilderment at the situation.

One fan said, "I feel quite emotional - like someone just died".

Newcastle United footballers have thanked Rafa for the last three years:

Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah said the news is so sad for both NUFC fans and Rafa Benitez: