Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United required a favour from Everton this evening in order to keep alive their faint hopes of survival – but they have been relegated to the Championship following Sunderland’s convincing 3-0 victory over the Toffees at the Stadium of Light.
In fairness to Rafa Benitez, he gave it his best shot.
The Magpies’ failure to beat already-relegated Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday has proved costly; their final match against Tottenham this weekend, in front of their home supporters, now meaningless.
In his nine matches in charge, the Spaniard managed to secure 10 points. Ultimately it wasn’t enough, though, and Newcastle will spend next season competing in English football’s second tier.
Benitez could never have imagined that he would finish this season fighting – and ultimately losing – a relegation dogfight in the Premier League.
The 56-year-old landed his dream job at Real Madrid last summer but was sacked just seven months into his tenure and replaced by the inexperienced Zinedine Zidane after failing to convince the club’s fans, players and, crucially, Florentino Perez.
Benitez surprisingly accepted the call from Newcastle but it would even more of a shock if he stays with the north-east outfit beyond this summer following their relegation to the Championship.
However, according to a report in the Daily Mail this week, Benitez could stay at Newcastle following a ‘change of heart’.
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