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Benitez waiting on Newcastle to decide his future – 'The ball is in their court'

19:32 IST 05/04/2019
Rafa Benitez
The Magpies boss addressed his future with the club on Friday with his current deal expiring in the summer

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez has said the “the ball is in their court” regarding a new contract with the team.

The Spanish boss’ contract is due to expire at the end of the season and he indicated his intention was to remain with the Magpies despite recent speculation linking him with a move to France.

Benitez moved to address those rumours as well on Friday, telling a press conference: “The only club I’m talking to about my future now is Newcastle."

“I’m waiting for an answer.

“I didn’t have any meetings [in France] because I was here until late.”

Benitez also mentioned a conversation between his representatives and Newcastle’s managing director, Lee Charnley, with regard to a new deal in the North East.

“They were coming with something, we are coming with something, that’s it. The ball is in their court.

“It was Lee Charnley with my people. I will not talk too much about that. You have the clarification. The ball is in their court.”

Benitez, who has had spells with Valencia, Liverpool, Inter, Chelsea, Napoli and Real Madrid, took over at St. James’ Park in March 2016 but was unable to stave off relegation from the Premier League that year.

He led the club back into the top flight the next season and steered them to 10th in the table last term, which was the team’s joint-highest finishing position since 2011-12.

Newcastle are currently 14th in the league, seven points clear of the relegation zone.

Benitez has often cut a frustrated figure on Tyneside as persistent takeover rumours have created an unsettled atmosphere.

The manager was also reportedly upset at Newcastle’s lack of activity in the transfer market before Miguel Almiron arrived in the January transfer window for a club record fee of £21 million ($27.4m).

Since the Paraguayan’s arrival his team have won all of their home games and will now be confident of remaining in England’s top tier for next season.

They face the team directly above them in the standings, Crystal Palace, this weekend and a victory will see them leapfrog the London club into 13th place.