Chelsea's interim manager, who will leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, has been given a rough ride by the club's supporters since he replaced fan favourite Roberto Di Matteo on a short-term deal.
But having done enough to ensure a Champions League place next season with Saturday's 2-1 defeat of Aston Villa, the Spaniard now has the chance to add silverware with Wednesday's Europa League final against Benfica.
While he focuses on that task, his representatives are already scoping out potential destinations for next season and he is clear that a Premier League position is top of his list.
Rafael Benitez: "It is started already, the agents are working.
"My job is to concentrate on the games, my agent is talking around.
"The Premier League is a fantastic league, my family still live in England so it would be easier but if not I will go abroad.
"I have no problem with Spanish, Italian, French (leagues).
"I was on holiday for nearly two years (before Chelsea). I want another job.
"The priority is still England but if you cannot find a club maybe you have to go abroad.
"When I was not working, some people said 'he cannot get a job' but I had a lot of offers.
"But you are looking for a top side or a for a proper project to build something.
"There are two options for the future - to get a project, two or three years to build a team like at Liverpool.
"Or maybe a top side with money where you can buy some players and maybe be challenging for trophies from the beginning.
"I'm sure we will have offers. We already have some clubs asking, but it depends on the level or the project."
Alan Pardew? Joe Harvey Would Turn In His Grave!
Alan Pardew says he would not care if Arsenal beat his side 4-0 next week after the Magpies ensured their Premier League status with a 2-1 win at QPR on Sunday.
A penalty from Hatem Ben Arfa and a fortuitous strike from Yoann Gouffran saw the Magpies leave Loftus Road with a vital three points that ensured they could no longer be relegated.
But if we expected a grand performance to match the fans' fighting spirit . we didn't get it.
In a word the performance was "awful"! Yes we got the result, but certainly more through good luck than good management.
Harry Redknapp shocked the London media by saying "that team out there (QPR) would finish in the bottom half of the Championship" . and we struck lucky beating them! Champions League-chasing Arsenal will need a victory next Sunday to be sure of a top-four place, while Tottenham will be hoping the Gunners to slip up, but Pardew insists his priority is for Newcastle fans to “enjoy themselves” on the last day of the season.
Alan Pardew: “We got an important result today.
“I don’t really care if Arsenal win 4-0 if I’m honest – I’m sure Spurs will – but I only care that our fans enjoy themselves.
“I’m very pleased. It was a very important game for this football club. Particularly this year with the finance of the Premier League.
“I thought both penalties were dubious. We played well after that, showed great resilience and it is massive for the North-East to have a team in the Premier League.
“Accusations of a 'rift' are absolutely ridiculous. Those that made them will be sobbing in their beer today.
“I think if I put my best XI out every week we would be a top-eight side but I’ve only been able to put it out three times at most.
"It’s an unforgiving league and if you look at this division, the likes of Swansea and West Brom are only five or six points ahead of us.
“It’s been an unbelievable season and I think it’s been so, so tight because of the financial rewards at stake this year.
"I will make sure that we are well prepared for next season and thank God we are not in the Europa League again.”
The Europa League is obviously too much for Mr Pardew - and as 20,000 Chelsea fans head to Amsterdam a couple of weeks time for the Europa League cup final - 50,000 Toon fans who visit St James' Park every home game - WISH IT WAS THEM!
Try telling those Toon supporters who travelled the length and breadth of Europe this season (from Portugal to Russia) that European football is for losers.
We WANT European football, like Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal and Man City.
That's what being SUCCESSFUL is all about!
The 4-0 win over Feyenoord and the 3-0 win in the final against Ujpest are my proudest moments ever as a Toon fan.
On the down side, the 3-0 defeat to the Mackems was bad, but the 6-0 home defeat to Liverpool was the WORST performance by a Newcasle United team I have ever seen in my lifetime.
Success is something beyond Pardew - because he has not seen it as a player or a manager. HE IS MR LOSER!
They will always sing Joe Harvey's name in the Leazes and the Gallowgate because he brought European success to this fabulous city.
Pardew said in August: "Europe and the League Cup are not our priorities, we are going to concentrate on the Premier League and the FA Cup."
Well that was certainly success . wasn't it?
Missing relegation by the skin of our teeth - and going out of the FA Cup to Brighton at the third round stage!
He is happy we haven't qualified for Europe, and he couldn't give a toss if we lose 4-0 at home to Arsenal.
Think long and hard . is he the man YOU want at Newcastle for the next SEVEN YEARS?
I'd be happy is he pissed off in SEVEN MINUTES!
Source: Newcastle United Mad