In the latest Newcastle news, boss Rafael Benitez has revealed there was an approach made by the Spanish FA for him to take charge of his country at the World Cup but it never materialised.
Spain were rocked on the eve of the tournament in Russia this summer when manager Julen Lopetegui was sacked after it emerged he was set to leave after the World Cup to take over as Real Madrid coach.
Fernando Hierro was named manager for the tournament but Magpies boss Benitez, who was born in Madrid, has revealed there was “a chance” he could have been brought in by the Spanish FA instead.
Benitez has had spells managing in various countries in Europe – including in England with Liverpool, Chelsea and now Newcastle – while he has also been in charge of the likes of Tenerife, Valencia and Real Madrid in his home country, but he insists he is happy at the Magpies.
The 58-year-old is currently with his squad in Ireland for pre-season but told the Chronicle about the possible opportunity with Spain, saying: “There was maybe a chance, but still I am here and I am happy to be here.
“There was a chance. There were rumours about that.”
Benitez guided Newcastle to an impressive 10th-placed finish in the Premier League last season and his side kick off the upcoming campaign with a home clash against Spurs on August 11. Bwin make them 13/5 to win the opener, Spurs are 11/10 and the draw is 12/5.