Benitez was confirmed as the club’s new manager on Friday afternoon following the sacking of Steve McClaren on the same day.
He is tasked with helping the club escape relegation at the death once again this season, with them currently sitting in the bottom three with ten games remaining.
Given the club’s he has managed in the past, he is certainly a high profile name and Balague says he is probably the biggest to manage the club since legend Bobby Robson.
“I’m sorry about McClaren because I really like him as a person and a coach, but Rafa is just a huge coach with a big reputation,” he told the Chronicle.
“It’s big, but I agree he’s possibly the biggest manager Newcastle have had since Sir Bobby Robson.”
“When he was at Real Madrid, he was the most-awarded manager in La Liga at the beginning of the season, so we are talking about someone that a lot of people have taken for granted.”
Whether Benitez can actually save the Magpies from relegation this season however, remains to be seen.
It is certainly a new scenario for him, having spent the vast majority of his career competing at the other end of the table and competing for Europe.
He is yet to experience a relegation battle, certainly not in the Premier League anyway, and whether he has the skills to survive it will be fascinating to learn over the ten games remaining.