Rafael Benitez says he wanted to stay at Newcastle but did not share club's 'vision'
"Unfortunately, it became increasingly clear to me that those at the top of the club did not share the same vision"
By Husmukh Kerai
Last Updated: 01/07/19 1:42pm
Former Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez says he wanted to stay at St James' Park but did not share "the same vision" as the club.
The Spaniard wrote an open letter to Newcastle supporters to explain the circumstances surrounding his departure after the club confirmed he would leave his role when his contract expired.
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The 59-year-old had been in talks over a new contract but claims he failed to reach an agreement with the club because they did not share the same "vision".
"Thank you for three fantastic, exciting and, at times, challenging years," he said.
"What we have had here - your support, your affection and your passion - has been unbelievable for me. St James' Park has been always special, the 5-1 win against Tottenham, 15-05-2016, was so emotional that since that day I have always felt as though I belonged at Newcastle and I thank you for making me feel so welcome and at home.
"Thank you to everyone at the club who has helped the team and of course to the fine players who grew and fought with us and to the staff [one of the best I have ever shared time with].
"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 wait 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!"
Porto manager Sergio Conceicao is interested in the Newcastle job, Sky Sports News understands.
It is also understood former Leicester, Fulham and Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri is considering in the vacant role at St James' Park.
Nice boss Patrick Vieira has also been linked with the vacancy, but the former Arsenal midfielder distanced himself on Monday.
Speaking at a press conference after welcoming his players back for pre-season training, Vieira said: "I'm at Nice for the long run. I do not intend to go elsewhere.
"I have always felt good here and with the people around me. I do not see myself anywhere else than OGC Nice."