Benitez Seals Newcastle Promotion, Hits Out At Real Madrid

Rafael Benitez has sealed the deal for Newcastle’s promotion back to the Premier League, following a stunning display and comfortable victory over Preston North End on April 24th.

Newcastle have long been favorites for promotion, but Burnley are the only other side in the last five years to earn themselves instant promotion the season after being relegated. Though they have looked strong for most of the season, Newcastle always had work to do to make it happen.

Their win against Preston at St James Park guarantees them a spot in the Premier League, pulling them seven points clear of Huddersfield with only two games remaining. Meanwhile, Championship leaders Brighton lost 2-0 away at Norwich last weekend, allowing Newcastle to close the gap.

Benitez’s role in Newcastle’s promotion success cannot be understated. He began last season with Real Madrid, but was sacked shortly after Christmas by club owner Florentino Perez, a man who is known for sacking managers on a whim. 

Though Real Madrid are undoubtedly the classier team, and are currently in the battle for the La Liga title, as well as being joint favorites to win the UEFA Champions League, it seems that Newcastle is a better home for Benitez. 

Indeed, though he joined Newcastle during their relegation season last year, with little chance of turning things around, this year he has pulled them right back around again, earning them promotion. 

It seems that Benitez would agree that the move from Real Madrid was a good one. In a thinly veiled comment aimed at Real, he spoke on Spanish Radio saying, “Here you are valued and there is no politics and strange things… In England, they respect professionalism and work, not like in some places.” 

The next question on some fan’s minds might be whether or not Newcastle can go on to win the league title. They play Cardiff City away on Friday 28th April, followed by Barnsley on May 7th, two mid-league teams that should technically pose no problem. 

But Newcastle’s form as of late has been questionable. Before their 4-1 win against Preston they suffered a 3-1 loss against Ipswich, a 1-1 draw against Leeds, and the pivotal loss against Sheffield Wednesday on April 9th, the game that seemed to stunt their first place dreams. 

Table leaders Brighton, on the other hand, still have games to play against Bristol City and Ashton Villa. Again, two mid-league tables, and Brighton have been showing more consistent form as of late. 

Newcastle are currently four points behind Brighton, and with only two games remaining it seems unlikely that they can pull it out of the bag. They would need at least a win and a draw from their last two games, and Brighton would need not to gain a single point. It is possible, but looking unlikely. Most fans will just be happy to see their team back in the Premier League next season. 

In other news, manager Rafael Benitez has also announced Newcastle’s transfer budget for the summer window. The figure stands at £70 million.

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