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Hiddink turned down Leicester before Ranieri appointment

Guus Hiddink claims Leicester City asked him to be their manager before appointing Claudio Ranieri to helm their glorious Premier League campaign.

Leicester were remarkably crowned Premier League champions on Monday after Hiddink’s Chelsea came from two goals down to deny Tottenham the victory they required to take the title race into the final two games of the season.

Veteran Dutch coach Hiddink was appointed interim Chelsea boss for the second time in his career after a defeat at Leicester last December sealed the demise of Jose Mourinho.

But it might have been a different story had the 69-year-old former Real Madrid boss not decided to opt for some time off earlier in the year.

“It is true that Leicester asked me [to be their coach] for this season,” Hiddink told De Telegraaf.

“But I had decided to rest at that time and I wanted to do just nothing.”

Chelsea recovered from their similarly unlikely position near the relegation zone after a dismal start, although they will finish in mid-table having bowed out of the Champions League and FA Cup at the last-16 and quarter-final stages respectively.

Nevetheless, Hiddink insists he has no regrets over returning to the club where he won the FA Cup in 2009.

“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 a club like Chelsea could have gotten into big problems.

“Just like nobody expected that Leicester would become champions, that [relegation] could have happened.”

Hiddink added: “It turned out to be a great half season and I want to close it with good performances in these last three matches.

“I don’t regret it for one moment that I said ‘yes’ to Chelsea. The Premier League is fantastic and I got to experience that for a second time.”

Wed 4 May, 2016
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