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Rafa Benítez bids Newcastle farewell with thank you letter

"I wanted to stay but I didn't want to just sign an extended contract - I wanted to be part of a project at this club", Benítez wrote in an open letter to Newcastle.

Rafa Benítez bids Newcastle farewell with thank you letter

Rafa Benítez has said goodbye and good luck to Newcastle fans with an open letter. The Spanish coach found out last week that he would not be continuing at the club - a decision which has not gone down well with the fans. His contract expired today, bring to an end his three years at St James' Park. Benítez bid farewell with an open letter written in English and Spanish which he published this morning. The 59-year-old expressed his sadness at leaving Newcastle, explaining that club directors had not shared his vision for the future of the team and thanked fans for their support during his time at the club.

Rafael Benítez salutes Newcastle fans

Rafa Benítez's farewell letter to Newcastle

"Dear NYFC fans,

Thank you for three fantastic, exciting and at times, challenging years.

What we have had here – your support, your affection and your passion – has been unbelievable for me. St James’ Park has always been special, the 5-1 win against Tottenham (15.5.16) was so emotional that since that day I have always felt as though I belonged at Newcastle and I thank you for making me feel so welcome and at home.

Thank you to everyone at the club who has helped the team and of course to the fine players who grew and fought with us; and to the staff (one of the best I have ever shared time with).

From winning the Championship to our two seasons in the Premier League, fans, staff and players have all been united. I wanted to stay but I didn’t want to just sign an extended contract; I wanted to be part of a project. Unfortunately, it became increasingly clear to me that those at the top of the club did not share the same vision.

I’m very sad about that, but I do not regret for one moment my decision to come to Tyneside and I’m very proud about what we achieved together.

I will always have you in my heart.

Best of luck for the future.

C’mon Toons!

Rafa Benítez