SPAIN’S football chief has claimed Newcastle offered them the chance to have Rafael Benitez as their manager — not the other way round.
Toon gaffer Benitez said he turned down the chance to manage his homeland following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the World Cup.
But Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales said: “When I sacked Julen I immediately called Hierro and told him I didn’t want to make any changes.
“Two days later a letter arrived from Newcastle saying, ‘Are you interested in our coach? He’s at your disposition’. We said thanks, but no.”
Spain’s former sporting director 89-cap Fernando Hierro was named as their interim coach.
This came after Lopetegui was axed for agreeing to become boss of Real Madrid in the wake of Zinedine Zidane quitting the Bernabeu.
And Rubiales added: “We would have never done that.
“We couldn’t hire Benitez because it would have been acting in the same way for which we reproached Julen.”
Newcastle refused to comment on the issue last night.
Benitez said last month: “There was maybe a chance but still I am here and I am happy to be here.”
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