PSV Eindhoven and AFC Ajax coaches Guus Hiddink and Ronald Koeman are staying put next season.
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."