HIDDINK RESIGNS

Former Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has resigned from his post as the manager of Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala after less than a year. He was brought into the club only in February 2012 after his spell with the Russian national team came to an end.

Hiddink is widely known for his spells with the national teams of South Korea and Holland. He guided a relatively lesser-known South Korea team to the semifinals of the World Cup, while the 66-year-old Dutchman has enjoyed great success with the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid in club football.

His last spell in club football – with Chelsea – got him the 2009 FA Cup trophy. Hiddink has stated that he took over the Russian club with the mission of getting them to a higher position as much as he could. He has recalled that he would be not continuing as the manager once he thought that he would not take the club any higher. Anzhi Makhachkala have been looking to become one of the European elite. They have spent huge money on transfers and wages with the most notable being the £ 320,000 per week contract offer for former Inter Milan and Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o.

Despite this, they have enjoyed only relative success in recent years.

“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,” said Hiddink. “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,” said the official statement from the club.
The 66-year-old Dutchman has been linked with the managerial job at Barcelona in the last few days following the resignation of Tito Vilanova.

WILLIAN SIGNS

Anzhi Makhachkala has signed the Brazilian midfielder Willian Borges da Silva. Anzhi has bought Willian from the Ukrainian club FC Shakhtar Donetsk. However, the Russian club hasn’t yet revealed the transfer fee that was paid to buy Willian, but, it is reported to be around 35 million Euros.

Willian played for Shakhtar for 5 and half years. He had joined Shakhtar in August 2007. The performance of Willian was quite good during his tenure at Shakhtar. The 24 years old attacking midfielder featured for Shakhtar in 140 matches and scored 20 goals.

Because of his consistent performances for Shakhtar, a lot of clubs were interested in signing Willian including the two English Clubs Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

When the winger of Anzhi, Yuri Zhirkov, was asked about Willian’s signing, he said, “Willian is a fantastic player and his performance in the last couple of years for Shakhtar has been quite outstanding. A lot of top teams wanted to buy him. So, it’s great that he has been bought by Anzhi and we are desperately waiting for him to join the camp.”

Willian himself was also quite happy after signing for his new club. The Brazilian midfielder said, “I am delighted to have joined a club like Anzhi which is slowly becoming one of the biggest clubs in the world. They really have a fantastic squad and it’s great to be a part of that unit. I hope that I would be able to win a lot of trophies with Anzhi.”

When asked about his tenure at Shakhtar, Willian said, “It was great. People gave me a lot of love and support and that’s why, I spent a lot of time over there. I want to thank them all for that. I also want to wish the Shakhtar team all the best for future.”

YESCHENKO SIGNS

Anzhi Makhachkala has signed the Russian defender Andrei Yeschenko. Anzhi bought Yeschenko from Lokomotiv Moscow. The coach of Anzhi, Guus Hiddink, confirmed the signing of Yeschenko on Saturday. Yeschenko is Anzhi’s first signing in the mid season transfer window.

Confirming the signing of Yeschenko, Hiddink said, “Yeschenko is a versatile player and he has done very well for Lokomotiv in the ongoing season. We were looking for an experienced left back who can strengthen our defense a bit. So, we went for Yeschenko and were lucky enough to have got him. Hopefully, he would perform well for us in the rest of the season.”

Yeschenko also looked happy after signing for Anzhi. The Russian player said, “I am delighted to become a part of a great club like Anzhi. I am looking forward to playing for my new club. It would be a wonderful experience to play under the guidance of Guus Hiddink who gave me a warm reception.”

“The team has done pretty well in this season so far. We are not too far behind from the table toppers. Hopefully, we would overtake them soon.”

Anzhi is currently at no. 2 in the Russian Premier League points table. It has just 2 points less than CSKA Moscow which is at the top of the table. Anzhi will take on Hannover of Germany in a Europa League clash next month. On the other hand, Yeschenko’s former club Lokomotiv is currently at no. 8 in the points table.

Meanwhile, the chairman of Anzhi Makhachkala, Konstantin Remchukov has denied the reports that his team wants to sign the English superstar David Beckham and has offered him a huge weekly salary. Remchukov said, “We are not planning to sign Beckham. We haven’t given him any offer and all these reports are completely false.”

HIDDINK SURPRISED AT ANZHI PROGRESS

Anzhi Makhachkala manager Guus Hiddink has said that he is extremely surprised about the progress the club has made in the Europa league this season.

Anzhi Makhachkala have been one of the biggest spending teams in Europe this season. Despite this, the manager Guus Hiddink has said that he did not expect the team to qualify for the play-offs of the Europa league. However, they have done so in the most impressive fashion despite being in the group containing the likes of Liverpool. The recent 2-0 win over Udinese confirmed the progress into the next round of the Europa league.

This win also meant that Anzhi Makhachkala would be qualifying as the top two teams from this group. Hiddink has expressed his delight at being able to achieve a comfortable victory over the Italian club. He has reserved his glowing praise for the Italian teams by saying that any Italian team is extremely tough to beat, and doing so is extremely prestigious. He has also mentioned that if the pitch quality had been good, then the team would be able to achieve an even better result. Hiddink’s time at extremely good in the second half after a disappointing first half.

“We qualified from the group, and I’m happy. I’m proud of my team and all the players. In the summer, when the qualification started, I couldn’t imagine that we’d find ourselves in the spring playoffs, coming out of such a difficult quartet. Beating any Italian club tactically is very prestigious, and I am pleased that we have succeeded. We were well-organized in the first half, not giving Udinese a single chance to score,” said the manager of the Russian club. Anzhi have spent a lot of money on several high profile players like Samuel Eto’o, who is the best paid player in the world.

ZHIRKOV BACK TO HIS BEST

The former Chelsea and the Russian national team manager Guus Hiddink has said that he is extremely confident that the Russian winger Yuri Zhirkov will once again be playing at his best.

The Russian winger was recently signed by the Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, who also managed to bring in the Dutch manager Guus Hiddink. Speaking after the 1-0 win over Alania Vladikavkaz, the former Chelsea manager said that he is extremely delighted to have Zhirkov in his team. He has identified him as one of the best left-sided midfielders in the world.

Even though Yuri Zhirkov spent most of his three seasons at the English club Chelsea as the backup for Ashley Cole, Hiddink reckons that Yuri Zhirkov can make it back to his best and is clearly showing signs of doing so. He has called the midfielder was one of the footballers with a proper knowledge about the game. Even though he has improved a lot since his arrival, the Dutchman has said that Zhirkov can improve even more provided he plays with a little more hard work. Since Hiddink arrived at the club, they have been an extremely good form.

They are currently top of the table with a two-point advantage over CSKA Moscow. “I do not want to single anyone out in particular but I think Zhirkov is progressing well. I think he has done a fantastic job until now although he can play harder, I know. And when he will find form, we will see the real Zhirkov. We were expecting a very difficult game with a team that plays with confidence at home and away. I think in the beginning of the match we surprised Alania with our good attack. We are happy with a good result,” said Hiddink. The club will now face Volga Nizhny Novgorod in the next match.

CAPELLO DROPS ZHIRKOV

The new Russian national team manager Fabio Capello has decided to drop the former Chelsea winger Yuri Zhirkov for his first match incharge of the Russian national team. Russia will be facing a friendly match against Ivory Coast in Moscow on August 15. This match coincides just before the start of the league season for most of the countries in Europe. Russia will be hoping to field a strong team for this match. It is thought that Fabio Capello will be making a lot of decisions regarding the performance of the team in this friendly because it will be followed by the World Cup qualifiers in September.

Russia recently appointed the former England manager Fabio Capello, who has been out of work since signing from his England managerial position back in March. The Italian is expected to be in charge of the national team until the 2014 FIFA World Cup that will be held in Brazil. The former Real Madrid manager has surprised everyone by naming the Arsenal winger Andrei Arshavin as the captain of the national team, despite the controversy surrounding the 30-year-old. One high-profile player to miss out from the squad is the former Chelsea winger Yuri Zhirkov.

Fabio Capello has made changes to the national team squad that failed to get past the group stages of the Euro 2012. A total of 24 players were part of the squad that failed at the Euro 2012. Only 15 players have made it into the squad for the friendly, thus showing that Capello is looking to bring in new players who are hungry to establish themselves at the international level. One of the interesting inclusions in the first team of the Russian national team in this match is the former Everton midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, who was left out of the Euro 2012 squad.

Greece vs. Russia Preview

The final round of group games begins on Saturday, with Group A leaders Russia facing Euro 2004 winners Greece in Warsaw. Dick Advocat’s side need just a point to guarantee qualification to the semi-finals, whilst victory would ensure they win the group outright.

The Russians won their opening game convincingly, before drawing with co-hosts Poland on Tuesday; a result which stretched their unbeaten run to sixteen internationals.

The two sides played out a 1-1 draw when they last met in a friendly in November. Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder Roman Shirokov gave Russia an early lead before Panathanikos’s Konstantinos Katsouranis equalised on the hour mark.

Striker Alan Dzagoev is once again set to lead the line for Russian following his three goals in his sides opening two matches. The CSKA Moscow man is priced at 9.0 (8/1) with Bet Victor to finish the tournament as top scorer.

Russia go into the game as odds-on favourites, with Paddy Power offering the best price of (3/4). Greece are 5.5 (9/2) with Stan James whilst the draw is (14/5) with the same firm.

The Greeks drew the opening match of the tournament with co-hosts Poland, before falling to a 2-1 defeat to Czech Republic on Tuesday. Two goals in the first six minutes, from Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar were enough to give Michel Bilak’s men victory, with Fanis Gekas pulling one back for the Greeks in the second half. That consolation goal moved Gekas to joint third in the list of all time Greek goal scorers, and the 32 year old is 11.0 (10/1) with Ladbrokes to open the scoring here.

Tuesday’s defeat was only Greece’s second in twenty-three games, having gone through their qualification campaign unbeaten; only victory here will see Fernando Santos’s side into the quarter finals.

GULLIT BACKS CHELSEA

Former Chelsea manager Ruud Gullit has said that Chelsea should be looking at the possibility of repeating the tactics they adopted against Barcelona in the semifinals of the Champions League in order to have any success of winning the competition itself when they face Bayern Munich in the final on Saturday.

It is undoubtedly going to be the biggest match of the history of the club given that most of the players of the current squad are expected to leave the club in the summer. Roberto di Matteo was speaking ahead of the match by saying that reaching a final is extremely difficult even for a young player and it becomes even tough for older players like Didier Drogba and John Terry.

Hence, he wants them to make maximum utilisation of the chance they have against Bayern Munich on Saturday. Chelsea have already had one final heartache back in 2008 when they lost to Manchester United on penalties. Chelsea were clearly the better team in the final, but could not get their hands on the trophy after striking the post three times in the match. However, many feel that this is the season Chelsea will finally achieve Champions League glory after many seasons of heartbreak.

“He was an organiser on the pitch. If you are a midfielder you need to think about defence and attack, you need to orchestrate. He was always in control. When he took over he started with the defence, he organised that first. That is like doing the foundations of house first. When they felt solid at the back then he thought about attacking. And he played with the best players, that is why they are winning. There’s no shame in how they played against Barcelona. No team outplays Barça, Barça had to find solutions, not Chelsea,” said Ruud Gullit.

HIDDINK HEADS TO ANZHI

Former Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has agreed to take on the vacant managerial job at Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.

The club recently created headlines for signing a number of high profile players on huge contracts. The likes of Samuel Eto’o and Yuri Zhirkov have signed for Anzhi Makhachkala in the summer. Samuel Eto’o, by moving to Anzhi Makhachkala, is thought to have become the best-paid player in the world, while Yuri Zhirkov is thought to be on a contract worth around £ 120,000 per week. Still, the club have severely underperformed when it comes to the league.

As a result, the club recently sacked its manager. A number of rumours have been floating around that former Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink would be appointed as the new manager. Guus Hiddink had just resigned from his job as the Turkish national team manager after a poor spell. However, it seems that the Russian billionaire seems to be trusting the wits of the Dutchman, who performed quite exceptionally during his time at Chelsea. Even though he was their only for a few months, Guus Hiddink won the FA Cup with Chelsea. No, he will be hoping to bring the Champions League to Russia.

It is thought that Guus Hiddink will be running around € 8 million per year, which makes him one of the best paid managers in the world. It is expected that the club will once again be signing a number of high profile players in the summer and in the January transfer window. The likes of Florent Malouda and Salomon Kalou have been linked with moves to Russia. Salomon Kalou is out of contract at the end of the season, while Florent Malouda has found it difficult to get into the Chelsea team after the arrival of Juan Mata.