It is a moment Newcastle supporters have dreaded for months, and a nightmare that has unfortunately come true.
The Spaniard has kept Newcastle afloat in an incredibly dark period for the club, and will be remembered as one of the club’s greatest managers.
But it seems his patience with club owner Mike Ashley has finally worn thin, and he leaves with his head held high and reputation intact.
Benitez guided a relegated Newcastle back to the Premier League in 2017 and against all odds has kept them there for two seasons.
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The current Newcastle squad is undeniably one of it’s weakest in years, but Benitez has turned many of them into stars.
Players like Ayoze Perez and Isaac Hayden have become fan favourites and top Premier League players under his tutelage.
It’s fair to say that many of The Magpies owe their careers to Benitez, and a few of them have praised the manager following today’s news.
Newcastle stars praise Rafa Benitez
There’s likely to be more well wishes from different players as the day goes on, and who knows what they all must be thinking.
Many of the squad stressed that Benitez was important to their own future on Tyneside and Newcastle could face a mass exodus.
So many of these players dedicated themselves to Rafa’s tactics and vision, and may now look to jump a sinking ship.
It’s nice to see that the squad respected Benitez as much as the fans, but it also makes the news all the more disappointing.