The 64-year-old Dutchman, Guus Hiddink, put a hand over his heart when recollections of Chelsea came up and said “it was a beautiful time.” Despite his contract with Turkey till next year, he did not rule out reliving them soon.
When asked after Turkey’s 1-1 draw with Belgium late Friday whether he would be in charge of its next Euro 2012 qualifier in September, he said “we’ll see.”
“There is nothing certain,” he said.
Team captain John Terry said he would welcome back Hiddink, who has remained as a Chelsea adviser since winning the FA Cup in 2009. Carlo Ancelotti was fired last month after his second season at Stamford Bridge ended without a trophy.
“At my age, when some issues can come up we can always talk,” Hiddink said.
Turkey is in a tight race for second place in Group A of Euro 2012, the kind of international challenge Hiddink has always thrived on since he took South Korea into the semifinals of World Cup 2002 and Australia into the second round four years later.
Stanford Bridge, though, also still tugs at his heart.
Hiddink insisted only one thing was certain as of next week. He was going on holiday, happy to see how his future would play out.
He certainly did not show any detachment from Turkey’s national team, trying to bring any question about his future back to Friday’s game, which he was lucky to escape with a draw after Belgium’s Axel Witsel missed a late penalty.
“We were lucky that it was missed,” Hiddink said. “We can be happy with the result.”
Behind runaway leader Germany with a perfect 18 points, Belgium held on to second place with 11 points from seven games, with Turkey totalling 10 points from six. Second place almost certainly assures a playoff spot for the finals in Poland-Ukraine next year.
Whatever happens, Hiddink took a philosophical approach. “My future is more behind me than in front of me.”