Former Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez leaves Chinese Super League side Dalian Pro

Rafael Benitez has left his position as manager of Chinese Super League side Dalian Pro amid fears over the impact of the coronavirus in the Far East.

The former Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid boss was hired on a lucrative contract worth a reported £12million per year after he left Newcastle United in 2019. 

Benitez, whose family are based in the North East following his previous managerial spell at the Toon , was not due to return to the Chinese club for the new season for another two months.

He has informed them that he has no intention of heading back, with talks now focused on his severance package.

However, despite the split there appears to be no animosity between the parties and the Spanish boss is even willing to help the Super League side choose his successor. 

Benitez joined Dalian in 2019 after departing St James’ Park, where he is extremely popular with supporters having steered the club back into the Premier League and established them in the top flight again, despite working with limited resources under owner Mike Ashley.

It is understood that Benitez was enjoying his role in China having helped develop the club’s training ground and academy, and was part of the set-up operating under a bubble once top flight football resumed in the country after the outbreak.

Reports though suggest a 28-quarantine could be enacted on those entering the country over fears of a new outbreak and Benitez fears further drastic measures could hinder his ability to move around, risking splitting him from his family even more.

Although the news comes during a time when his Newcastle successor Steve Bruce is under pressure at St James’ Park, it is not though that his departure is related to a potential return to the club.    

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