The Premier League relegation battle just got more interesting as ex Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez replaced Steve McClaren as manager of Newcastle United.

McClaren had endured a turbulent time in the North East and with only ten games remaining the Magpies find themselves in real danger.

“I have the pleasure to confirm I have committed to a legendary English club, with the massive challenge of remaining in the Premier League,” Benitez said.

Spaniard Benitez, 55, has joined on a three year contract, bringing in his own back room team.

The former Liverpool, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid boss will face table toppers Leicester City on Monday, followed by the mouth watering North East derby against Sunderland in his first game at St James Park.

The question remains, is it too late to save Newcastle’s season, or is this last throw of the dice a stroke of genius from the hierarchy at the club. One things for sure, the mess that has followed Steve McClaren all season can surely only improve.

Benitez famously won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005.