Rafael Benitez has become a contender for the soon-to-be vacant Spain managerial job, according to the Daily Express.
This comes in the wake of Julen Lopetegui’s decision to join Real Madrid from next season, which has led to his sacking as national team coach on the eve of the World Cup.
Current Newcastle United manager Benitez is in line to replace him, having been linked with the position in 2016 prior to Lopetegui’s appointment, but it is unlikely to be until after the tournament in Russia.
Benitez not guaranteed to want job
Benitez is one of the most experienced Spanish coaches in the game, having won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005, while also spending time at Real Madrid and Valencia.
With the sudden sacking of Lopetegui, the current Newcastle boss would represent a solid choice to keep the Spanish team from imploding.
Yet, Benitez is not guaranteed to accept an offer to take over, having stated back in October: “If I do well here [Newcastle] then maybe. If not, the national team won’t happen.”
Continue on Tyneside or return home?
He has been a success on Tyneside so far, guiding them to 10th in the Premier League last season, their highest finish in four years. Although he could save the Magpies from relegation in his first couple of months, an immediate return to the top flight was praised by the Newcastle faithful.
While there will be a whole host of names linked with the Spain job, not many will be as experienced and as successful as Benitez.
Now they just have to tempt him to leave the North East of England for a return to his homeland.