Former Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez leaves Dalian Yifang

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce hasn’t had much to smile about in recent months, and the news that former Magpies boss – and former King of the North – Rafael Benitez has left his post at Dalian Yifang has will not have done much to improve his mood.

Benitez terminated his contract with the Chinese club with one year remaining on his £ 12million-a-year contract. The Spaniard cited his well-being and that of his family amid the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for his decision.

Rafael Benitez
Rafael Benitez is free agent again | Chris Brunskill / Fantasista / Getty Images

The veteran tactician has released a statement confirming his immediate exit from the club, with his coaching staff also following suit.

“Unfortunately, like so much over the past year, COVID-19 has changed our lives and our plans. As of today, my coaching staff and I will unfortunately no longer be coaching Dalian, ”he said in a statement released by Sky Sports.

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

Despite his early exit from the club, Benitez believes the work he did during his 18 months in China will be a good place for the club in the future, and he hopes that the “project” he has started will continue to develop after his departure.

“I am convinced that we have left a structure and a methodology that will allow the project to move forward successfully,” he added.

Steve bruce
Steve Bruce’s future at Newcastle remains uncertain | Pool / Getty Images

“The first team has been rejuvenated and the foundations have been laid for the future, from popular schools to the top.”

With Benitez now a free agent, speculation about the future of Newcastle manager Bruce will only intensify.

The Magpies are currently 15th in the Premier League table – seven points above the drop zone – however, a miserable streak of nine games without a win in all competitions and some truly despicable performances saw some of the base’s Newcastle fans become frustrated with Bruce’s tenure.