Guus Hiddink is preparing for his final match in charge of Chelsea on Sunday when the Blues host champions Leicester City (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via Live Extra).
The Dutchman took over for Jose Mourinho in December, his second stint as interim manager at Stamford Bridge after finishing the 2008-09 season on the touchline following the dismissal of Luiz Felipe Scolari.
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In both spells Hiddink excelled, winning the FA Cup in 2009 and leading the Blues from 16th place to the top half of the table this season. However, the club announced Hiddink would not be retained next season, instead opting to hire Italian international coach Antonio Conte.
Speaking to the press ahead of the Leicester match, Hiddink said it will be an emotional goodbye at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
I will be emotional on Sunday because in the two spells here the passion towards football was already there, but the affection for the club has grown.
The recent memory of playing at Anfield was a pleasant one because the team played as I love them to. That’s the way Chelsea can play and should play.
Of course after the escape from near the relegation zone I would have loved to reach the FA Cup final and go one or two games further in the Champions League but we couldn’t fulfill that. But I’m happy with the last half-year, I did it with a lot of joy.
We must face facts; by Chelsea’s standards it’s been a season with exception. It’s not enough for Chelsea. It’s now relatively quiet at the club but we have to go on and be competitive next season.
Hiddink has been a faithful servant to Chelsea, coming in during difficult times and always putting the club ahead of himself. In both spells his work was worthy of a contract extension, but he was willing to walk away and allow the club to move forward in a different direction.
It will be a great atmosphere at the Bridge on Monday, as Chelsea supporters say goodbye to Hiddink while also honoring Claudio Ranieri, the former Blues’ boss who is now a Premier League champion with Leicester.