Former Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez says he didn’t leave the club for China just because of the hefty Chinese Super League money.

Rafael Benitez left Newcastle United in the English Premier League to join Dalian Yifang in the Chinese Super League.

And for many, he left because of the money he was promised.

But according to him, that was not the only reason.

“When I joined Newcastle in 2016, I did it with all my heart,” Benitez was quoted by Four Four Two.

“I could feel the history and see the potential of the club, and I wanted to be part of a project and to stay close to my family on Merseyside.”

“I tried to do my best every day, even staying when we went down to the Championship and saying no to other offers – bigger offers than the one I recently accepted with Dalian Yifang, by the way,” he added.

“If I was only interested in moving ‘for money’, as Charnley stated, I could have done it much earlier.”

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“Newcastle’s board had a year to sort out my contract but, when we met after the end of last season, they didn’t make me a proper offer,” he said.

“They told me they didn’t want to invest in the academy or the training ground – if they like, I can explain the reason why Mike Ashley refused to do that.”

He concluded: “Their idea of a project was a policy of signing players under 24 and, in my opinion, the budget available was not enough to compete for the top 10.”

“After that meeting, I knew they would not come back with a serious offer and, when it arrived, 19 days later, it was for the same salary as three years earlier and with less control over signings.”

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