Tuesday 16 January 2018

Hiddink linked to Barcelona after leaving Anzhi

Guus Hiddink
Guus Hiddink

Guus Hiddink has resigned as manager of Anzhi Makhachkala with former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen named as his replacement.

Hiddink has played a key role in the emergence of the Dagestan-based club built on the backing of billionaire owner Suleyman Kerimov.

But he today announced he would be standing down with Dutchman Meulensteen already installed as his successor.

An Anzhi statement published on www.fc-anji.ru, read: "FC Anzhi has accepted the request of the head coach to terminate their employment relationship.

"The club sincerely thanks Guus Hiddink for his significant contribution to the club and wishes him success in his future career."

Hiddink said: "This decision was not easy for me, but I've always said that my mission with Anzhi would end when the club was able to develop and grow by itself without my participation.

"Now that time has come. I am convinced that the club has a great future and I am glad I was part of this large-scale football project."

Hiddink joined Anzhi in February 2012, just over a year after Kerimov had purchased the club and funded the signing of a number of high-profile players, including former Inter Milan and Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o - reportedly making him the highest-paid player in the world.

Anzhi finished fifth in the 2011-12 season but improved to a third-placed finish a year later.

Hiddink passes the baton to Meulensteen with Anzhi 11th in the new Premier League season having drawn one and lost one of their opening two games.

Meulensteen was Sir Alex Ferguson's first-team coach at United but opted to move on after the Scot retired from the Old Trafford hot-seat.

Hiddink's destination is unclear but news of his departure from Anzhi immediately led to speculation he was set to succeed Tito Vilanova at Barcelona.

The widely-travelled Dutchman has managed in Spain before at Barca's arch-rivals Real Madrid as well as Real Betis and Valencia.

Barca announced on Friday Vilanova was standing down to continue to receive treatment for cancer.

Press Association

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