As they grow older — or get out of contract, whichever comes first — footballers are often viewed as mercenaries, traveling to distant outposts in the world in search of one more payday.
Managers like Guus Hiddink were no different. After coaching for 30 years, the 66-year-old Dutchman is set to retire from the daily slog when Anzhi Makhachkala’s season comes to a close.
With stops in Turkey, Spain, Holland, South Korea, Australia, Russia and England — The wizard is ready to call it a day. He’s guided Anzhi to the final 32 in the Europa league and has the ambitious Russian club in line to qualify for the next season’s Champions League.
So what’s next? Via RTE Sport, Hiddink indicated he won’t disappear completely from the game:
“I don’t know what I’ll do. Maybe I’ll be an advisor or supervisor to young players or coaches. I want to teach people how to handle certain issues in football or how they can plot their career path. That sounds interesting. I will not disappear into a black hole.”
He made a career out of adapting his style to the countries he managed in. South Korea’s success in the World Cup turned Hiddink into a glocal hero — a term coined by Roland Robertson in 1994. Hiddink’s efforts transcended sport, giving him the reputation of a magic man who could turn around the fortunes of an ailing national program or club. It was dubbed ‘The Hiddink Syndrome’. Honorary citizenship, cult hero status and all the samgyeopsal he could ever want.
And thus I end with some post football advice for the man who has seen it all. Returning to South Korea to oversee youth development while enjoying treatment fit for a prince doesn’t sound bad at all, Guus. Think about it.