Duo linked with Barcelona
Both men had been linked with the coach's job at Spanish club FC Barcelona. Indeed, the Catalan team's newly-elected president Joan Laporta named Hiddink as a possible candidate. However, Hiddink's assistant Cees van Nieuwenhuizen said: "Guus felt he could not leave the club and chairman [Harrie] Van Raaij in particular. That is what he told Barcelona chairman Laporta and he understood the reasons for his decision."
'Quite a relief'
"Of course, it is a relief to hear this come from Hiddink's mouth," said Van Raaij, the club's president. Another potential Barcelona target, Ajax coach Koeman, will also be going nowhere despite having a release clause in his contract. With Ajax's technical director Leo Beenhakker departing for Mexico this summer, Koeman has agreed to remain in Amsterdam.
"I am a man whose word is worth something, and a contract is a contract," Koeman said. "So I will certainly stay at Ajax until the summer of 2004, and will do my job as coach with as much pleasure as when I started it. I will try to finish what we started 18 months ago."
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