Newcastle confirm Rafa Benitez as manager

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports News HQ's Keith Downie has the latest as a smiling Rafa Benitez leaves St James' Park after signing a three-year contract

Rafa Benitez has been appointed as Newcastle manager on a three-year deal, saying he has "committed to a legendary English club".

Benitez, who arrived on Tyneside early on Friday afternoon, was announced just three hours after Steve McClaren's sacking on Friday morning.

After a brief meeting at St James' Park, Benitez left for Newcastle's Darsley Park training ground to meet with club staff and took his first training session with the players.

It is thought Benitez will take training on both Saturday and Sunday and could be in the dugout for Newcastle's Monday Night Football clash at Premier League leaders Leicester City.

Sky Sports News HQ understands Benitez, who has been without a club since being sacked by Real Madrid in January, has an opt-out clause in his contract if the club is relegated.

Live Ford Monday Night Football

"I have the pleasure to confirm I have committed to a legendary English club," said Benitez in a club statement. "With the massive challenge of remaining part of the Premier League.

"It will be a challenge not just for me and my staff but for the players, the club and the fans.

Also See:

Five games which cost McClaren

Five games which cost McClaren

Newcastle sack Steve McClaren: Five games which cost him his job

"All of us must push together in the same direction and with the same target in mind. This is the reason why I'm going to ask for your total support to successfully complete this task.

"Personally, it means my return to the Premier League, closer to my home and my family. I can't be happier.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink says Rafa Benitez will bring experience to Newcastle

"C'mon Toon Army! The club and I need your total involvement!"

The former Liverpool and Chelsea boss will be joined by Fabio Pecchia, Francisco de Míguel Moreno and Antonio Gómez Pérez, who will join existing coaches Ian Cathro and Simon Smith to form Benitez's coaching team.

The relegation run-in

The relegation run-in

Premier League relegation battle: Newcastle, Sunderland, Norwich and Aston Villa's run-ins analysed

Paul Simpson, Alessandro Schoenmaker and Steve Black have all left club with immediate effect.

Newcastle United head coach Steve McClaren leaves a training session at Darsley Park, Newcastle.
Image: Steve McClaren was sacked on Friday morning

Managing Director Lee Charnley added: "I am very pleased to welcome Rafa Benitez to the club. In Rafa we have, without doubt, secured the services of one of Europe's top managers.

"He has managed some of the most successful teams at the very highest level of the game and we are proud to now have him as our manager.

Rafa's ups and downs

Rafa's ups and downs

Rafael Benitez to Newcastle? Ups and downs of the Spanish manager

"Our sole focus now is to give our full support to Rafa, his coaching team and the players in order to secure our status in the Premier League.

What's wrong at Newcastle?

What's wrong at Newcastle?

What's going wrong at Newcastle? The problems which cost Steve McClaren

"I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to Paul Simpson, Alessandro Schoenmaker and Steve Black for their service to the Club."

McClaren was sacked by Newcastle after just nine months at the club which saw him win just six games in 28 Premier League outings and leave the club 19th in the table, one point adrift of safety.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Paul Merson says the way Newcastle United have sacked Steve McClaren is poor and disrespectful

Benitez becomes Newcastle's eighth permanent manager in 12 years and their second foreign coach in the Premier League following Ruud Gullit's spell in charge in 1998-99.

The Spaniard has won 12 trophies, including two La Liga titles with Valencia and the Champions League with Liverpool during a distinguished career.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Keith Downie gets reaction from fans as Rafa Benitez takes over at Newcastle

Around Sky