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'I've had bigger offers!' - Benitez claims Chinese move wasn't for the money

05:59 BST 04/07/2019
Rafa Benitez
The Spanish coach is set for a fresh challenge in China

Former Newcastle United coach Rafa Benitez has stressed his decision to join Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang wasn't for the money. 

The former Liverpool manager recently failed to agree to a new contract with Newcastle and has opted to test himself outside of Europe. 

Dalian are one of the wealthier clubs in the CSL and are owned by billionaire Wang Jianlin, but Benitez is adamant his move to the club wasn't financially motivated.

"I have had offers of greater financial significance during my career, but they weren't the project I was looking for," Benítez is quoted on his official website

"What I have found at Dalian is an incredible project that has arrived at the perfect time and this has been a major factor in my decision.

"We've accepted the challenge of leading a superb project with the full backing and confidence of the club’s leadership team.

"Over the last years many players and coaches I know have arrived in China, so I have been able to follow the Super League as much as possible.

"It's a competition with its unique qualities so we will have to know how to adapt, but our path forward is clear. Dalian Yifang is an historic club in one of the most football passionate cities in the country, so this is an added attraction.

"Everyone says how loyal the Dalian fans are and we've witnessed this passion for the club from the very first moment. Without doubt coming to a club with such great supporters was another key in making this commitment."

In his farewell message to Newcastle, Benitez claimed he wanted to stay with the Premier League club but that they didn't share the same vision. 

That's an issue the 59-year-old clearly doesn't think he'll have with Dalian, who boast star players Yannick Carrasco and Marek Hamsik.  

"This club has all the components that we were looking for to start a new chapter with the maximum motivation," Benitez said. 

"Among the directors of the club I have found people who value my track record, such as the chairman of the Wanda Group, Mr. Wang, who is keen to grow this club as much as possible, develop a tremendous project and support this growth with all the necessary resources.

"We share the same ambition of developing a great project here and leave a legacy in Dalian." 

Benitez takes over a club currently sitting 10th in the CSL after 15 games with Yifang picking up just four league wins during that span.