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Rafa Benitez takes another swipe at Newcastle owner Mike Ashley

Rafa Benitez has taken yet another swipe at Newcastle owner Mike Ashley in his first blog post since taking over at Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang.


The Spaniard had an acrimonious exit from St James’ Park at the start of the month after he failed to agree terms on a new contract, ending his roller coaster three years in the North East. 

He has since moved to China and, in a lengthy message to his fans, made reference to the lack of communication that blighted his time with Newcastle and how he has been delighted with the transparency of his new employers.

He wrote: ‘I’ve had more meetings with the chairman, the president and general manager this week than I had in three years at Newcastle.

‘They haven’t been just work meetings, rather signs of respect in which we have been able to appreciate the difference and similarities in our cultures.’

Benitez held nothing back last week when outlining the reasons behind his exit from the Premier League side, insisting he wanted to stay but ‘it became increasingly clear that those at the top did not share my vision’. 

In an explosive letter to fans, he explained: ‘From winning the Championship, to our two seasons in the Premier League, fans, staff and players have all been United. I wanted to stay, but I didn’t just want to sign an extended contract, I wanted to be part of a project. Unfortunately, it became increasingly clear to me that those at the top of the club did not share the same vision.

‘I’m very sad about that, but I do not regret for one moment my decision to come to Tyneside and I’m very proud about what we achieved together. I will always have you in my heart. Best of luck for the future. C’mon Toons!’.

As reported by Sportsmail, Benitez wanted close to £100m to work with in the transfer market this summer and the power to offer weekly wages in excess of £100,000 for the first time.

He also demanded the freedom to spend as he saw fit and at the top of his list was West Brom’s Salomon Rondon, the loanee who was Newcastle’s player of the season. 

The club disagreed on the grounds of the striker costing £16.5m and turning 30 in September. Managing director Lee Charnley told Benitez that the model was to sign players under 25 with sell-on value. 

Benitez has since moved to China and his Dalian Yifang team, which includes the likes of Marek Hamsik and Yannick Carrasco, defeated Henan Jianye 3-1 in his first match in charge last Sunday. 

He appears to be enjoying himself in his new surroundings, despite the difficulties that come with a language barrier, and informed fans of the cultural and historical aspects of his new home.

‘As you can imagine the first bit of advice that you get from foreigners working here, or those that have worked here in the past, isn’t that you should sign a good striker, rather that you should sign a great translator,’ he said.

‘A good translator can relate your ideas clearly to the players. The translator doesn’t just need to know your language (mine speaks English) but also needs to know football in order to transmit the real meaning of what you want to communicate.

‘So far I have met with the person responsible for building the new training ground, the Team Manager, the kit man and the driver, and of course the translator who is always with me.

‘The most complicated aspect of my daily work are the training sessions (we’ve only had five so far), where every exercise, explication and correction depends on a translator – and as I said before, not just for me, but for my whole staff. We have three translators so far and are looking for more, as all the help we can get in this area will be fundamental.’

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