Newcastle have appointed Rafael Benitez as manager on an initial three-year contract following the sacking of Steve McClaren.
The former Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid boss has joined United on an ‘initial three-year deal’.
Benitez, who was sacked as manager of Real Madrid earlier this season, has been handed the job of attempting to steer Newcastle to Premier League survival, with the club second-from-bottom heading into the weekend.
He said in a statement released by the club: “I have the pleasure to confirm I have committed to a legendary English club, with the massive challenge of remaining part of the Premier League.
“It will be a challenge not just for me and my staff but for the players, the club and the fans.”
Here he is… pic.twitter.com/SVUCwL3yeb
— Mark Douglas (@MsiDouglas) March 11, 2016
Benitez’s appointment followed swiftly on from the dismissal of McClaren, who was relieved of his duties on Friday morning.
Benitez arrived at St James’ Park shortly after 2pm to hold face-to-face talks with Magpies managing director Lee Charnley after days of discussions between the Benitez camp and intermediaries.
The club also confirmed the appointments of Fabio Pecchia, Francisco de Miguel Moreno and Antonio Gomez Perez, who will join Ian Cathro and Simon Smith to form Benitez’s coaching team.
It is understood the players, who were on a day off, had been summoned to the training ground for a meeting, where they may now meet their new boss for the first time.
Benitez added: “All of us must push together in the same direction and with the same target in mind. This is the reason why I’m going to ask for your total support to successfully complete this task.
“Personally, it means my return to the Premier League, closer to my home and my family. I can’t be happier.
“C’mon Toon Army! The club and I need your total involvement!”
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) March 11, 2016
Managing Director Lee Charnley told the club’s website: “I am very pleased to welcome Rafa Benitez to the club. In Rafa we have, without doubt, secured the services of one of Europe’s top managers.
“He has managed some of the most successful teams at the very highest level of the game and we are proud to now have him as our manager.
“Our sole focus now is to give our full support to Rafa, his coaching team and the players in order to secure our status in the Premier League.
“I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to Paul Simpson, Alessandro Schoenmaker and Steve Black for their service to the club.”