Newcastle United have confirmed the appointment of Rafael Benitez as manager following the dismissal of Steve McClaren.
McClaren, 54, was axed on Friday following a string of poor results which saw the Magpies claim just six wins in 28 league games – with Benitez installed immediately.
Newcastle, with 24 points, are just one place off the bottom of the table and now face an uphill task to remain in the Barclays Premier League.
Benitez, on the other hand, another victim of sack at Spanish giants, Real Madrid, is making a sensational return to the Premier League after previous stints at Liverpool and Chelsea.
Fabio Pecchia, Francisco de Miguel Moreno and Antonio Gomez Perez have also joined the club and will link up with Ian Cathro and Simon Smith to form the ex-Napoli manager’s coaching team.
Benitez has agreed a three-year deal and there had been talk of a relegation clause prior to the confirmation of his appointment.
Newcastle did not reveal whether there exist any get-out clause in the event of relegation, but it is understood an opt-out option is available to the Spaniard.
Benitez told the club’s official website: “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.
“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!”
Benitez, 55, is still considered one of the best managers in the world as he remains the only one in history to have won the UEFA Cup , UEFA Super Cup , UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup .