After being a part of the football coaching rat race for nearly 40 years, former Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink has decided to call time on his career.
Mother Guus served as interim boss twice in fact, calming tumultuous periods in both 2008-09 and 2015-16. While trophies eluded him during the second stint (though he did set a record somewhat dubiously), he led us to the FA Cup trophy in 2009 and was only eliminated from the Champions League that year thanks to one of the most controversial refereeing performances in modern football history. Across his two spells, we lost only 7 times in 49 games.
Most recently, the 74-year-old had been in charge of the Curaçao national team, while he had served as the head coach of the China U21/U23 youth international sides prior to that. But he had taken a step back recently due to COVID-19, handing off the Curaçao reigns to Patrick Kluivert, and it looks like that will prove the last act in a long and successful career.
“I haven’t been active lately because of COVID. Coincidentally, I was evaluating with the president yesterday and we have come to the conclusion that it is better that I stop for a while, because they are going into a new trajectory.”
“We are going to stop. Total. Whether I’m going to do an Advocaat [and unretire in a few years]? No no.”
-Guus Hiddink; source: HLF8 via Voetbal International
Hiddink made his name with PSV back in the late ‘80s, guiding them to a European Cup in 1988 and making international stars out of Ronald Koeman and Hans van Breukelen. He would go on to manage the likes of Valencia, Real Madrid, Real Betis, and Anzhi Makhachkala, while also leading the likes of South Korea (fourth place at the 2002 World Cup), Australia (qualifying for the 2006 World Cup and reaching the knockout rounds) and Russia (2008 Euro semifinals) to unexpected successes. He managed PSV, Chelsea, and the Netherlands twice, though failed to win a trophy with the latter, earning a fourth place finish at the 1998 World Cup.
In his most recent appointment, Hiddink’s great dream was to take Curaçao to the World Cup, despite the enormous challenge that presented. He got almost as far as CONCACAF group stage in qualifying (the “Octagonal”, née the “Hex”). Alas, someone else will have to do that now.
In any case, thank you Mr. Hiddink for everything, and all the best in your retired life!