‘Magician’ Hiddink To Head Russia’s Makhachkala-Based Anzhi Soccer Club


By Svetlana Kalmykova

Dutch coach Guus Hiddink is to head Russia’s Makhachkala-based Anzhi football club. The 65-year old coach has signed a 18-month contract with the club management. Under the contract, his annual salary will be $13 million.

The football club from Makhachkala, the capital of Russia’s Dagestan republic in North Caucasus, has surprised the world again with it extravagance again. After last year’s acquisitions when the club managed to sign up star players like Roberto Carlos, Samuel Eto’o and bought Yury Zhirkov from Chelsea the arrival of such a prominent coach looks quite logical.

It became known several days ago that Russia’s richest football club is looking for a new coach after the early resignation of Yury Krasnozhan, who had coached Anzhi for only two months. The most popular version of his early resignation was his disagreements with several of the team’s leading players.

Apart from Hiddink the club’s management considered the candidacies of Italian Fibio Capello, who used to coach England’s national team and Portuguese Jose Mourinho, who apparently got tired of coaching Madrid’s Real.

Football experts preference for Guus Hiddink from the start, based on his previous experience as the coach of the Russian national team. Under his guidance the Russian team managed to come as third at the 2008 European Cup.

As of today, the Makhachkala club not only boasts the world’s most expensive player, Samuel Eto’o, but also the world’s most expensive coach, football reporter Anton Lisin says.

Under his contract, Hiddink’s compensation package is very high. Considering that he is 65 years old, these 18 months of work would be a good addition to his pension. But I wouldn’t want to write him off. With him Anzhi are likely to qualify for the European Cup and could even hope for a medal.

There is a joke in football circles that every player’s dream is to end his career in Makhachkala. Some of the top players can’t sleep at night thinking about the salaries offered by the Dagestan football club. Recently Cristiano Ronaldo, the star of Madrid Real hinted to his employers that he would not mind getting paid as much as Samuel Eto’o in Anzhi. As for Guus Hiddink, the club’s deal with him is likely to pay off, sports reporter Alexander Vladykin says.

That’s not an usual amount of money. Maurinho has already broken the ceiling of $10 million per season. In the past, coaches never used to earn more than $1 million in a season. It is not about counting the money but about the efficiency of Hiddink’s work. In my opinion, he is a very good coach, so let’s wait and see how it goes.

As of now, after 32 tournaments the team from Makhachkala comes 7th in Russia’s national ranking with 52 points, six points behind Moscow’s Dinamo. In his statement published on the club’s website, Hiddink said he would try to ensure that the team was able to achieve its ambitions. The team is now facing the third round of Russian national championship and perhaps “Magician Hiddink” will make a miracle happen again, even if it costs billions of dollars.


VOR, or the Voice of Russia, was the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service from 1993 until 2014, when it was reorganised as Radio Sputnik.

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