The Newcastle United Club Crest
Getty Images

Rafa Benitez has parted company with Dalian Professional of the Chinese Super League, the Spanish tactician has confirmed.

The former Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle United boss had one year remaining on his contract in China but is now free to speak to interested clubs.

Benitez, 60, has won the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League and its predecessor the UEFA Cup, as well as La Liga (twice), the FA Cup and the Coppa Italia with SSC Napoli as well as the EFL Championship with Newcastle.

"Unfortunately, like so many things in the last year, Covid-19 has changed our lives and our projects," Benitez told his official website. "From today, both my coaching staff and I will sadly no longer be coaching the Dalian Professional F. C.

"It has been an incredible experience and for this I would like to thank all my staff, coaches, medical and club staff as well as our players; their commitment to us in the first place, their support during the time we were there, and their effort has been magnificent.

"The pandemic is still here, for all of us, and supporting our families has been a priority when making this decision."

Benitez is back on the market at a time when both Frank Lampard of Chelsea and Steve Bruce of Newcastle, both former clubs of Benitez, find themselves under pressure to turn bad runs of Premier League form around.

The Spaniard, who has also coached Valencia CF, Inter Milan and Real Madrid with varying degrees of success, led Dalian to Chinese Super League survival last season and the Asian side had been keen to extend his contract according to Benitez's recent exclusive column in the Athletic.

Should Lampard or Bruce be axed this weekend or sometime in the near future, the experienced Benitez will undoubtedly be linked with a return to one of his former sides.