Villareal coach, Unai Emery has revealed that he rejected the chance to manage the English Premiership side, Newcastle.
Emery was considered No 1 choice by the club’s new Saudi owners to take over from the sacked Steve Bruce, and following talks looked set to be appointed at St James’ Park.
“The Newcastle project is an attractive project — something to build, different to Arsenal,” Unai Emery tells The Athletic.
“With Arsenal, you first had to knock down the walls, which is hard work, then start to build again. Newcastle, no; it was just about building, from the ground up. So it is different, and I liked the idea. But I was also grateful to Villarreal for the opportunity they gave me, and we were in the Champions League.”
The Villarreal coach is speaking ahead of their Champions League quarter-final first leg tomorrow (Wednesday) at home to Bayern Munich, and talking of the difficult decision he made last November to reject a lucrative offer from Newcastle United and their new Saudi owners.
Villarreal came through a tricky Champions League group also including Manchester United and Atalanta, then stunned nine-time finalists Juventus 4-1 on aggregate in the last 16.
Now Emery is facing the first-ever Champions League quarter-final of a managerial career covering 18 seasons, eight clubs, four countries and 11 trophies – including a record four Europa League final wins.
There is one competition he has yet to really succeed in though, and the 50-year-old has no qualms about sharing the personal dream which still drives him on.