Guus Hiddink has revealed that he was offered the managerial position at Leicester at the beginning of the 2015 – 2016 season. According to the interim Chelsea manager, Claudio Ranieri wasn’t the first preference to take over the helm at the King Power Stadium.
The Foxes replaced Nigel Pearson with the Italian manager Claudio Ranieri last summer, and the rest is history. Ranieri’s last managerial stint was with Greece, where he was sacked after his team’s failure against minnows Faroe Islands at home in the Euro 2016 qualifying match.
Not many expected Ranieri’s Leicester to finish in the top half of the table, let alone clinching the English league title. Before this miraculous run, quite understandably, Hiddink would have seemed to be a better pick to guide Leicester, but it worked out for the best for the underdogs.
Hiddink, 69, revealed that he didn’t take on the helm of the newly-crowned Premier League champions as he had decided to take some time off.
“It is true that Leicester asked me (to be their coach) for this season,” Hiddink told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
“But I had decided this was a time for rest, and I wanted to do just nothing.”
He further explained why he returned to Chelsea for his second stint.
“The club was in a negative flow, and there was panic,” he said. “It was my task to restore a calm atmosphere, and that happened. If we kept losing, even to a club as Chelsea could have gotten in big problems. Just like nobody expected that Leicester became champions, that could have happened.
“It turned out a great half season, and I want to close it good with these last three matches. I don’t regret it for one moment that I said ‘yes’ to Chelsea. The Premier League is top of the bill, and it’s fantastic that I could have a second spell.”
Despite a stability in their form in the second half of the season, the Blues cannot realistically book a spot in either of the European competitions. The West Londoners will give a guard of honor to Leicester on the last day of the season.