Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has left his job at Dalian Pro due to fears over the ongoing impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
The 60-year-old still had a season remaining on his lucrative £12 million-a-year contract, but has opted to leave the Chinese Super League club by mutual consent.
It is well-known that Benitez’s family still live on Merseyside and it is believed that he has made his decision not to return to China based on the virus re-surfacing in the Far East.
Having told his current employers of the situation, talks are now on-going over a severance package.
The Spaniard guided Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005, and then followed that up with an FA Cup triumph the following year.
The Reds then mounted a challenge for the Premier League title in 2008/09, but fell just short to old foes Manchester United.
That season saw Benitez launch into a now infamous rant about ‘facts’ in response to comments made by the then-United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
Benitez eventually left Liverpool in the summer of 2010, following a breakdown in his relationship with the club’s then owners Tom Hicks and George Gillette.
He then had spells in charge of Internazionale, Chelsea, Napoli and his boyhood club Real Madrid before joining Newcastle United in March 2016.
And although he was a hugely-popular figure with the majority of the Magpies support base, his relationship with club owner Mike Ashley broke down and he was allowed to leave at the end of the 2018/19 campaign.
He moved to China immediately after his spell at Newcastle, and has overseen the re-development of the Blue Hawks’ training ground and academy.