Following meetings with Mike Ashley over his future with the club, Rafa Benitez has committed to remaining Tyneside for the foreseeable future, with Newcastle brass committing in return to offer Rafa the funds necessary to remain competitive in the Premier League. This is, of course, all great news, but what if it could be BETTER news? What if, for example, the news also included the context of all the other jobs Rafa was offered but turned down? Wouldn’t it be pretty cool (read: petty) to know which clubs and fanbases offered their hearts to Rafa, only to have Rafa turn away and stay with Newcastle? If you agree, you’re in luck! Coming Home Newcastle has received a very real and not at all fabricated exclusive report of not one but FOUR jobs turned down by Benitez to stay with the Toon, starting with…
It has been no secret this season that Arsenal supporters have been frustrated with longtime manager Arsene Wenger, and Rafa has long been linked as a possible successor to the longest-serving coach in the Premier League. The immediate appeal is obvious – Rafa would not only have an undoubtedly larger purse with which to build his dream side, but being associated with a London club would mean that national media would have no choice but to grovel and praise his every move. This sounds like the perfect move, right?
Wrong. One key thing that we’re forgetting is that Rafa, as cool a guy as he is, would never do anything to hurt an old pal. Rafa and Wenger were both dealt a pretty tough hand by our buddy Sam Allardyce in his 2015
moneygrab autobiography, in which Sam went so far as to call Wenger “arrogant” and Benitez “superior”. The two managers were understandably pretty shook at this revelation, Arsene moreso since “superior” isn’t really that harsh of a dig and says more about the speaker than the subject, to be perfectly frank. Nonetheless, Wenger and Rafa bonded over the event, spending many nights over wine talking about how hurt they felt and wondering aloud how someone could chew so much gum all the time.
So no, Rafa would not accept the opportunity to displace his brother Arsene at the Emirates. Unfortunately for Wenger, however, that would not sate the supporter groups at their wits end with his performance, and the replacement search led to potential openings across Europe, including…
Diego Simeone, also long connected with replacing Wenger at Arsenal, is rumored to be close to accepting the position, leading ownership to reach out to Rafa as Simeone’s replacement. As with Arsenal, the appeal seems to be more than could be passed up, as not only would Rafa be able to coach the love of his life for a third time as he enters the twilight of his career, but he would also again likely have greater funds in the transfer market, would have little pressure to do much beyond finish somewhere between second and fourth every season, and, perhaps most importantly, would be able to return to his home in Madrid.
But therein lies the problem! He would be returning to Madrid only to manage the rivals of his boyhood club and three-time employer Real Madrid. Moreover, he would have to manage Atletico while his ouster Zinedine Zidane patrolled the Real sidelines. As much as Rafa hates the idea of being responsible for ousting a close friend at Arsenal, he EXTRA hates the idea of coaching against the rival of a former club, led by the friend responsible for ousting him at his last coaching gig before Newcastle. No thank you.
Diego Simeone, in a turn of events that’s not as unexpected as you would think given the fact that he’s crazy, tears up and eats the contract offered to him at Arsenal, meaning that Wenger’s post goes unfilled. However, Arsenal eventually finds their man, getting a signature from Ronald Koeman, meaning there’s an opening at…
The Toffees, now facing a vacancy of their own, turn to a man well-known in Liverpool as a potential replacement for Koeman. As with Atletico, this would be an opportunity to return to a city that he has called home, but also as with Atletico it would mean taking control of a club that he once viewed as a rival. He would be given the opportunity to manage Romelu Lukaku, but would likely have difficulty keeping the striker at Goodison, and that’s not a legacy that our man Rafa would want to leave behind at Everton. No, this would not do, thought Benitez.
Sullen and insecure as a result of the nonstop spinning of the international football coaching carousel, Rafa began to wonder if his true joy could only be found outside of the game. Benitez woke up the next morning, opened his newspaper, and – what luck – found that there was a new job opening waiting for him as the director of the…
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
Listen. I know what you’re thinking. “This has been funny and all, but the charade is up – there’s no way Rafa would consider a job at the FBI.” First off, how dare you. Second, journalistic integrity isn’t something taken lightly at Coming Home Newcastle or in the SB Nation family of blogs. Rafa truly found what he had been looking for all along.
In 2012, following the dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea appointed Rafa manager of the club for the rest of the 2012-2013 season, leaving open the possibility of a long-term contract after the year ended. However, his time at Chelsea was marred by frequent run-ins with owner Roman Abramovich, including Abramovich’s decision to give Rafa the title “interim manager,” abuse from Russian fans supporting Abramovich, and Abramovich not attending an FA Cup match in which Benitez totally owned Manchester United in what was to be Sir Alex’s final season. Rafa left Chelsea for Napoli at the conclusion of the season, but never forgot how slighted he felt at the hands of Roman Abramovich.
In the FBI position, Rafa found his chance. Abramovich is a longtime friend and advisor of one Vladimir Putin, current President of Russia and subject of probes into interference with the 2016 United States presidential election, probes being operated by…the FBI. Abramovich and Putin have long held what has been considered to be a father-son relationship; now, Rafa would exact revenge by taking down what Abramovich held dear, like how The Bride takes down what Bill holds dear in Kill Bill or how Deckard Shaw tries to take down what Dom Toretto holds dear in Furious 7. This would be a job he would not turn down.
He would not turn it down, it turns out, because it was never offered to him. His plan was far too transparent, and the current Trump Administration found his anti-Putin zeal too risky. This rejection hurt Rafa’s feelings, but led him to reevaluate how he had strayed so far. Like the antagonist of a one-hit wonder, Rafa’s life, love and lady was football. But who could he manage?
Which club had taken him in after his unceremonious sacking at Real Madrid?
At which club would his success be most annoying to Sam Allardyce?
In the end, there was only one answer. There was only ever one answer. Rafa would commit his future to the supporters that praise his name. There is only one Newcastle United.