It is sometimes easy to forget that just 16 months ago, Rafael Benitez held arguably the most coveted managerial position in world football. And while has tenure at Real Madrid was somewhat indifferent, the Spaniard still held his own at the very height of his industry.
It was therefore a surprise to many in the footballing community when Benitez agreed to join Newcastle in January 2016, with the seemingly impossible task of retaining their Premier League status. While the 57-year-old failed to accomplish this, he agreed to take charge of the Toon Army in the Championship at the hope of an immediate return to the top flight.
After a squad overhaul and a long and tiresome campaign, Newcastle have returned to the top flight as Champions of England’s second tier and the Toom Army have voiced their appreciation for having a manager of the calibre of Benitez at the helm.
Fans took to Twitter to have their say on Rafa…
— Rachael Moffatt ???? (@RachaelMMoffatt) May 8, 2017
— Keith Webster (@keefwebster) May 7, 2017
Rafa Benitez. My hero, my mate. pic.twitter.com/lgUkRHX35e
— Tom (@TomBore_) May 7, 2017
Mr Rafa Benitez I bloody love you #hero
— CPC Worldwide (@cpcholding) May 7, 2017
What was I worried about? Never again. Rafa Benitez I'm eternally grateful to you , your staff. Phenomenal effort this year. Genius #NUFC
— The Looney Toon (@The_Looney_Toon) May 7, 2017
Rafa Benitez is a champion. #Simple
— Cass. (@JamesCassidy16) May 7, 2017