Rafa Benitez can rebuild his reputation by keeping Newcastle in the Premier League

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It's often a wonder for football fans what possesses top managers to take the reins of a struggling club.

Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez did just that in recent days, showing that he isn't one to shy away from a challenge by taking on the mammoth challenge of keeping Newcastle United in the Premier League.

The Spaniard has endured a somewhat chequered few years since an unfortunate end to his tenure on Merseyside, managing at Napoli and La Liga's Real Madrid to moderate success.


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His choice to reignite his career at Newcastle is an intriguing one - it's a club that holds much promise but consistently fails to deliver, currently battling against relegation from England's top-flight.

So, what's in it for Benitez, you may ask? As with anything in life, managers have professional pride and a competitive spirit; they insist they can do better than the last man in charge and prove wrong those who previously doubted them.

The 55-year-old was virtually humiliated during his time at the Bernabeu and would love nothing more than to restore himself as one of Europe's top managers - and the Newcastle role could help him do just that.

Benitez has previous experience of managing struggling sides, having secured promotion for Extremadura and Tenerife into La Liga during the late 1990s, which could play a vital role in ensuring survival for his new side with ten games remaining.

Should he achieve that goal, with the amount of money due to be introduced next season as a result of the Premier League's multi-billion television deal, the Spaniard would have a blank canvas to work with and structure to his liking.

You can only hope that owner Mike Ashley gives him time and free reign to bring in the players he needs. Benitez isn't one to be dictated to by a club's owners, as proved during his spells at Valencia and Liverpool, and will voice his opinion if necessary.

Ultimately, a close brush with relegation could be the wake up call Newcastle need. As league leaders Leicester City have shown this season, any momentum carried over from the previous campaign can make you feel like you're riding the crest of a wave.

For Newcastle supporters, they have long been yearning for a messiah to follow in the footsteps of Kevin Keegan and Sir Bobby Robson, who delivered memorable seasons at St James' Park.

Landing a manager of Benitez's quality and track record is the first big step needed to turn things around on Tyneside, and if he can steer the club away from relegation, not only can he look forward to rebuilding the club's reputation in the years ahead but his own at the same time.

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