Merson explains what joining Newcastle United says about Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United appointed Rafa Benitez last week.

Former player Paul Merson says Rafa Benitez joining Newcastle United nine weeks after departing Real Madrid speaks volumes about the man’s passion for football, he wrote in the Daily Star.

The former Liverpool boss has taken quite the leap in terms of managerial jobs, taking over relegation-threatened Newcastle only a matter of months after being sacked from Madrid.

Indeed, Merson is still having trouble believing Benitez has actually opted to move to Tyneside though he adds it only proves how much the Spaniard loves football and wants to be involved.

“It’s amazing Rafa has gone there. He’s gone from trying to win the Spanish title with Real Madrid to fighting a relegation battle with Newcastle just a few months later,” Merson wrote.

“If that was a novel you were reading on holiday you’d throw it in the pool because it’s so far-fetched it’s unbelievable. It proves he loves football and wants to be in the game.”

Benitez has won a number of top honours during his managerial career, including two La Liga triumphs at Valencia, a Champions League success with Liverpool and a Coppa Italia with Napoli.

Newcastle, in contrast, have gone more than 50 years with major silverware and currently find themselves in 19th position in the Premier League, four points adrift of safety.

Some could argue that Benitez has taken a massive risk in joining the Magpies, yet there is no doubt that the club boasts a strong following and the potential is there to become a top European club.

After overseeing a 1-0 defeat at league leaders Leicester City in his first game in charge, Benitez’s home debut couldn’t be any more intriguing as Sunderland visit St. James’ Park on Sunday.

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