Rafa Benitez reacts as Newcastle United assistant leaves for Hellas Verona

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez
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Newcastle United are on the lookout for a new assistant after Fabio Pecchia left to join Italian side Hellas Verona.

Rafa Benitez has heaped praise on his former first team coach and thanked him for his efforts since the pair joined Newcastle United in March.

The pair have worked closely together at Napoli, Real Madrid and Newcastle but Benitez will have to appoint a new number two following his departure to the Serie B side on a one-year deal.

"I would like to congratulate Fabio Pecchia who, until now, has been my 'assistant ' in my recent managerial appointments at SSC Napoli, Real Madrid CF and,more recently - Newcastle United FC," Benitez said in a statement on his website.

"Fabio Pecchia has just accepted an offer from Hellas Verona and leaves us to return to Italy.

"To the football league we both fondly know as 'Calcio', he returns to head up an interesting and exciting project in Hellas Verona. For this reason, I'd like to highlight two points:

"First, I am sad to see him depart as he has been an excellent professional from the first day and until the last in the years we have worked together.

"Second and most importantly, I am pleased because he been considered for this new position, he leaves to face these new and exciting challenges, both personally and professionally.

"I wish you all the best, good luck and I can only say thank you for everything, Fabio."

Club officials say his replacement is set to be announced in the coming days.

A club statement added: "The club would like to thank Fabio for his services to Newcastle United during his time with the Magpies, and recognises that this is a fantastic opportunity for him to further his career.

"Good progress is being made with regard to replacing Pecchia, and a further announcement will be made in the coming days."