Rafael Benitez leaves role at Dalian Professional in order to support family through coronavirus pandemic

The Spanish tactician has cited the need to be with his family during the Covid-19 pandemic

Rafael Benitez has left his role as coach of Dalian Professional, with the Spaniard saying he needs to support his family through the coronavirus pandemic.

The 60-year-old joined the club in 2019, and had been making strides to turn them into challengers in the Chinese Super League.

However, he announced on Saturday that he had taken the decision to part ways with the club in order to be with his family.

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“Unfortunately, like so many things in the last year, Covid-19 has changed our lives and our projects,” Benitez wrote on his official website. “From today, both my coaching staff and I will sadly no longer be coaching the Dalian Professional F. C. 

“It has been an incredible experience and for this I would like to thank all my staff, coaches, medical and club staff as well as our players; their commitment to us in the first place, their support during the time we were there, and their effort has been magnificent.

“The pandemic is still here, for all of us, and supporting our families has been a priority when making this decision.

“Behind us, in China, and especially in Dalian, we are leaving many friends and good memories in a great city with very knowledgeable fans. 

“I’m convinced we have left a structure and a methodology that will allow the project to go ahead successfully. 

“I say goodbye sadly under these circumstances, but at the same time I am convinced that the future will be bright for Dalian Pro FC.”

Given his standing in the game, Benitez is likely to be the centre of speculation regarding his future.

He was the subject of debate on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday, with the topic of his return to Newcastle being floated.

Current Magpies boss Steve Bruce is under huge pressure with the club slipping towards the relegation places on the back of a run of seven games without a win in the Premier League.

A large majority of Magpies fans would love to see Benitez return, but he departed in 2019 on account of problems with the club’s structure and with Mike Ashley remaining in charge, those issues are unlikely to have disappeared.

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