| SEOUL, July 11
SEOUL, July 11 Coach Guus Hiddink, who has made
a habit of turning second-tier teams into big event contenders,
plans to continue for a long time to come -- especially after
taking a young Russian side on a magical ride in Euro 2008.
"They did better than I expected ... but I saw the
potential," Hiddink, 61, said in an interview with Reuters on
After taking Russia to the semi-finals where they lost to
Spain, rumours circulated that the Dutchman could move to
Chelsea in the Premier League but the vacancy was filled by
Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari.
"The Premier League is an attractive league but not at this
moment realistic. I am working with Russia," Hiddink said on a
visit to South Korea where he is regarded as a hero for guiding
the side on a shock semi-final run in the 2002 World Cup.
"The only possibility to leave earlier, which I am not
thinking of, is in the case that Russia does not qualify for the
2010 World Cup," said the man known in Russia as 'Tsar Hiddink'.
He continued: "Five or ten years ago, when I worked in
Spain, I said I would do one or two years more and then quit.
"As long as I have energy and get energy out of young
people, I cannot say I will stop (coaching).
Hiddink does not mind always being the bridesmaid but never
the bride for taking teams to the semi-finals without claiming a
"You can see the facts and, to be realistic, about where
teams come from," he said. "They succeeded by getting to the
semi-finals. It is beyond expectations."
Hiddink is one of the best-known foreign sports figures in
South Korea and he also endeared himself to the public for his
foundation that brings soccer to handicapped and underprivileged
He was attending his foundation's event to celebrate the
opening of a 'Hiddink Dream Field', a football pitch for blind
children. His foundation aims to build at least 10 of his 'dream
fields' around South Korea.
"We are over-privileged ... me and the companies and
authorities, we have to help to facilitate the underprivileged."
Hiddink may have talked about leaving the game but feels he
will always be attached to soccer.
"After I retire, I am not going to go to the sea or river
and go fishing every day," he smiled.
(Editing by Jon Herskovitz)