Rafael Benitez has been confirmed as the new manager of Newcastle United.
The Spanish coach, who was sacked by Real Madrid in January, has penned an initial three-year deal at St James’ Park.
Benitez has taken over from Steve McClaren, who was sacked by the Magpies earlier on Friday, and has already delighted the Geordies by saying: “"C'mon Toon Army!”. (Scroll down this page to read his statement in full).
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In a statement on the club’s official website, Newcastle have confirmed that Fabio Pecchia, Francisco de Míguel Moreno, Antonio Gómez Pérez will join Ian Cathro and Simon Smith to form Benitez's coaching team.
Benitez’s first match in charge of relegation-threatened Newcastle will be against title contenders Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Monday night.
Rafa Benitez speaks out
Speaking of his appointment, Rafa Benitez said: "I have the pleasure to confirm I have committed to a legendary English club, with the massive challenge of remaining part of the Premier League.
"It will be a challenge not just for me and my staff but for the players, the Club and the fans.
"All of us must push together in the same direction and with the same target in mind. This is the reason why I'm going to ask for your total support to successfully complete this task.
"Personally, it means my return to the Premier League, closer to my home and my family. I can't be happier.
"C'mon Toon Army! The club and I need your total involvement!"
Lee Charnley statement
Newcastle’s managing director Lee Charnley, meanwhile, said: "I am very pleased to welcome Rafa Benitez to the club. In Rafa we have, without doubt, secured the services of one of Europe's top managers.
"He has managed some of the most successful teams at the very highest level of the game and we are proud to now have him as our manager.
"Our sole focus now is to give our full support to Rafa, his coaching team and the players in order to secure our status in the Premier League.
"I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to Paul Simpson, Alessandro Schoenmaker and Steve Black for their service to the Club."
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