April 20 (Reuters) – Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez says he plans to work as a manager until he is 70 and is desperate to have another chance to win the Champions League before he retires.
Benitez’s Newcastle future is still uncertain, with the 59-year-old’s three-year deal set to expire on June 30 and a contract extension yet to be finalised.
“Eleven years as a manager, that’s fine. You can see (71-year-old Crystal Palace manager) Roy Hodgson is still there,” Benitez told reporters ahead of Newcastle’s Premier League clash with Southampton on Saturday.
“I like to manage teams, I like to coach players, so I’m happy with that. Always I say we are forward-thinking. My staff, they are young people and we are always thinking about how to improve things.”
Benitez joined Newcastle in March 2016 but failed to prevent their relegation from the top flight.
However, he guided Newcastle to promotion the following season and helped them to finish 10th in 2017-18 — their joint-highest finish since the 2011-12 campaign.
The Spaniard won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005 and expressed his desire to once again be involved in Europe’s elite competition.
“I like to — and I want to — compete for trophies and the best trophy is the Champions League, so I would like to have the possibility in the next 11 years to win the Champions League,” Benitez added. (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)