Rafa Benitez finally addresses the Celtic rumours

Erstwhile Newcastle United manager Rafa Benitez was tipped to succeed Brendan Rodgers at Celtic a few months ago.

The Northern Irishman left Parkhead in February to join Leicester City, and the club’s former boss Neil Lennon was appointed on an interim basis.

While he has since been made permanent manager, Benitez was linked with taking over as his Newcastle contract was nearing its end.

The former Liverpool boss left for the Chinese Super League, though, linking up with Dalian Yifang.

Celtic have started the new campaign well under Lennon as they look to win a ninth Scottish Premiership title in a row and a fourth successive domestic treble.

Nevertheless, a lot of fans are pissed off after he failed to lead them back to the Champions League as they were knocked out by CFR Cluj in the third qualifying round, and some will probably wish Benitez took charge of the Hoops instead.

The Spaniard has now addressed the rumours, claiming he was aware of Celtic’s interest but there weren’t any approaches from the Scottish giants.

“I was aware of some interest but we didn’t have any official approach,” Benitez replied when asked if there is any truth to the Celtic rumours over the summer during a Q & A session on The Athletic.

“I was still under contract at Newcastle so we couldn’t even consider this option.”

Celtic face AIK tomorrow in the second-leg of the Europa League play-off last qualifying rounds, and they head into the clash with a 2-0 advantage.

They face Rangers in the Old Firm derby at Ibrox on Sunday, and how they fare in both games could have a huge say on Lennon’s immediate future at the club.