Rafael Benitez confirmed as Newcastle manager

The Spaniard replaces Steve McClaren on a three-year deal

benitez, newcastle, manager, mcclaren

Picture by: Francisco Seco / AP/Press Association Images

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez has been confirmed as the new manager of Newcastle United.

The Spaniard has made a return to the Premier League by signing a three-year deal with the club. He replaces Steve McClaren, who was sacked on Friday.

Having been sacked from Real Madrid earlier this season, Benitez has now been entrusted with the task of helping Newcastle claw themselves out of their second-from-bottom position, and away from relegation danger.

The new appointment arrived at his new club over an hour ago to meet the Magpies managing director Lee Charnley following days of discussion that led to today's announcement.

In a statement released today, Benitez said:

''I have the pleasure to confirm I have committed to a legendary English club, 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."

''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.

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

The players, who were reported to be on a day off today, were summoned to the training ground for a meeting, where they may now meet their new boss for the first time.