Inter Milan is the best soccer club in the world right now; the coach, Jose Mourinho, has quit to move to the world's biggest club, Real Madrid. The Inter job is perhaps the best gig up for grabs in a decade. As so many coaches in so many sports have said "I didn't get this job because my predecessor was winning." Well, Inter is coming off the most successful season in Italian history, winning Serie A, the Coppa, and the Champions' League. So who's at the top of the list for this plum position? Guus Hiddink. And he's the wrong choice.
Hiddink has had much managerial success, but in the post-Bosman era he's found most of his glory coaching "lovable losers" to punch above their weight. He took South Korea to the World Cup semis and Russia to the Euro semis. He took Australia to the World Cup's second round. He won three Dutch titles in four years with PSV despite other clubs' larger budgets, but PSV was outgunned on the European stage.
When given the keys to a Ferrari instead of a Buick, results have been mixed. Holland fell out of Euro '96 in the quarters, and folded in the semis at France '98. There was a disappointing year at Real Madrid. There was a wild half-year in a salvage operation at Chelsea which came up inches short—but Hiddink couldn't find a way to stay on. Pre-Bosman, there was a European Cup at PSV but an up-and-down year at Turkish titans Fenerbahce and three seasons at Valencia where the club finished 4th, 4th, and 7th.
Hiddink is the current Turkey manager, and should be left there.
Inter needs to go after a manager that can win with stars, not a manager who can make an 8th-place team a 3rd-place team. Vicente del Bosque might be available, and there's always one or two unemployed men on Italy's coaching carousel who have won championships. Ottmar Hitzfeld hasn't coached outside the German-speaking world, but would be a good choice. The best choice of all might be Manuel Pellegrini, who couldn't lift the title with Real but still guided the club to its most points ever. If we're going Dutch, Louis van Gaal might be pried away from Bayern, and Ronald Koeman is currently unemployed as a low-budget option. National team coach Bert van Marwijk wants back into club football, but, like Hiddink, he's never managed a huge club to huge success.