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Newcastle boss Benitez delighted seeing Sissoko and Wijnaldum thriving

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez is delighted seeing Moussa Sissoko and Georginio Wijnaldum thriving in their careers.

The midfielders were part of the Toon team relegated in 2016, when Benitez replaced Steve McClaren as manager with ten games left of the season. Wijnaldum moved onto Liverpool, while Sissoko joined Tottenham.

And three years after their St James' Park exit, they will now face each other in tomorrow's Champions League final in Madrid.

Benitez, who led the Reds to their 2005 Champions League win, said: "You cannot complain or say anything negative about what they did here.

"I understand the feelings of some of our fans but these two were really good professionals from day one.

"I made Sissoko the captain because he was a really good professional, who kept everybody working hard.

"Sometimes players do not get offers when they are relegated but they still had top sides interested.

"Maybe they were not fine here because the team was not doing well - but they have the skill and the pace.

"If you play in a very good team, it's easy. You will play better in that team.

"It's very clear that with better players around, some players will be better and you can't question the level of Spurs or Liverpool."

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Paul Vegas

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