Former Manchester United and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has seemingly rejected any chance of taking the Newcastle job.
The Geordies are, understandably, devastated by the forthcoming exit of Benitez, who will step down at the end of his contract on June 30.
In a statement released on Monday the club claimed they had “worked hard” to try and agree a new deal with the 59-year-old and his representatives, but ultimately failed.
Reports have suggested that owner Mike Ashley and managing director Lee Charnley had offered Benitez a one-year extension on the same £6m-a-year salary plus bonuses after meeting him in London on May 17.
However nothing came to fruition and now the Toon are searching for a new boss, with Mourinho mentioned as one of the potential candidates.
Reports earlier in the month claimed that the Portuguese had told friends he will seriously consider an approach from Newcastle if their potential new owner multi-billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan comes calling
However, in an interview recorded before Benitez’s departure was announced, the former Inter boss told The Coaches’ Voice: “The only thing that I know is what I don’t want: I am quite pathological in the sense of I have to play to win.
“Then, if I don’t win, then that’s my problem and the players and the club and the structure but I need a project where the feeling is I play to win.
“If somebody gives me a wonderful 10-year contract and the objective of the team is to stay in the first half of the table and if you finish seventh, eighth or ninth, it’s perfect, then that’s not for me. That’s my nature.
“My next (goal) is to fight to win.”
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