Rafa Benitez will leave Newcastle at the end of June

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Rafa Benitez will leave Newcastle United at the end of his contract at St. James' Park.

Benitez's current deal runs until the end of June and the club released a statement confirming he will be leaving the club.

The Spaniard has spent three seasons in charge, guiding them back up to the Premier League after relegation to the Championship.

'It is with disappointment that we announce manager Rafael Benitez will leave Newcastle United upon the expiry of his contract on 30th June 2019,' the club stated on Monday afternoon.

"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."

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As you can imagine, Newcastle fans reacted angrily on social media. Check out some of the replies after the club's official Twitter account tweeted the breaking news:

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Benitez has become something of a hero in the northeast, remaining loyal to Newcastle despite his hands often being tied by owner Mike Ashley.

Earlier this summer, the club were linked with a takeover from Saudi Arabia, thought to make Newcastle mega-rich.

They were even linked with a sensational move for Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.

Former Birmingham City manager Garry Monk is the early favourite with the bookies, although Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce is also under consideration.

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