Rafael Benitez: 'Ball in Newcastle's court,' says manager regarding new contract

Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez
Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez joined the St James' Park club in 2016

Manager Rafael Benitez has told Newcastle "the ball is in their court" regarding an agreement over his new contract.

The 58-year-old Spaniard's three-year deal is set to expire in the summer and he sees his future at St James' Park, despite reports suggesting he wanted to manage a French club.

"The only club I'm talking to about my future now is Newcastle," Benitez said on Friday.

"I'm waiting for an answer."

He said claims he had discussions in France on 6 March were untrue, adding: "I didn't have any meetings because I was here until late."

The former Valencia, Liverpool and Real Madrid manager joined the Magpies in March 2016, but could not prevent them from dropping down to the Championship despite the side finishing the season on a six-match unbeaten run.

However, he led Newcastle to promotion the following campaign and helped them finish 10th a year later - their joint-highest finish since the 2011-12 season.

The Tyneside club began this campaign poorly but have steadily improved. They are currently 14th in the Premier League, seven points above the drop zone.

Benitez added: "They [Newcastle] were coming with something, we are coming with something, that's it. The ball is in their court.

"It was [managing director] Lee Charnley with my people. I will not talk too much about that. You have the clarification. The ball is in their court."

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