Moscow: Dutch coaching legend Guus Hiddink on Friday signed an 18-month deal with Russia's upstarts Anzhi Makhachkala that reportedly makes him one of the world's highest-paid managers.
The 65-year-old former manager of the South Korean and Australian national teams became a hero in Russia after he managed to turn its historically disappointing side into a stylish attack force that reached the semifinals of Euro 2008.
"Today Guus Hiddink signed the contract. As well as the post of chief coach, Hiddink will also occupy the post of club vice president in charge of development," Anzhi said in a statement.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed but a Dutch news report said Hiddink could earn 10 million euros ($13 million) a year in net salary that accounts for taxes paid by the club.
"I am happy that I got such an opportunity," Hiddink was quoted as saying by the club's website.
"I know the ambition of the shareholder, the club, the fans and the whole world knows about this now. And I will do everything to make sure that the team's game corresponds to these ambitions," Hiddink said.
The news could have far-ranging repercussions for European football amid jostling for managerial position at some of the world's most prestigious clubs.
Hiddink's Russian ties and reportedly friendly relations with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had turned him into the favourite of some British media to succeed the London's club's embattled coach Andre Villas-Boas.
Anzhi for its part had been busy interviewing several of the biggest names in coaching to find the perfect candidate who could transform the one-time minnows into a Russian superclub with broad recognition abroad.
The team's owner Suleyman Kerimov - a billionaire investor with stakes in energy and mining companies - last weekend interviewed former England coach Fabio Capello as circulation swirled of his imminent appointment.
The Italian will now be free to look for other European assignments as positions shift in the crunch spring months of the football season.
Anzhi currently sit seventh in the Russian Premier League and within a few points of securing a place in a European league that would finally afford the team a degree of recognition outside Russia.
The 21-year-old club plays its home matches in the the capital of the restive Caspian Sea region of Dagestan - one of the deadliest places in Russia in which violent crime mixes with endemic poverty and rising Islamic militancy.
The team dealt with the unrest by moving its headquarters to Moscow and disappointing locals by only bringing the team to Makhachkala on match days.
But Kerimov - a Dagestan native who retains an iron grip on the club and makes all its executive and transfer decisions - has argued that this was the best policy for bringing world class names to Anzhi.
He has since been able to attract Cameroon's superstar striker Samuel Eto'o and Brazilian veteran Roberto Carlos to a team that had been previously been made up of players with little recognition even in Russia.
Anzhi also managed to bring Chelsea defender Yuri Zhirkov from Chelsea and is, according to unconfirmed press reports, planning on signing other big names including Manchester City's disgruntled striker Carlos Tevez.
The Dutch daily Voetbal International said Hiddink would bring his assistants Ton Du Chatinier and Zeljko Petrovic to the club.
Hiddink said the club was committed to developing football in Dagestan.
"It is especially important for me that the club is building serious plans to develop football in the republic (of Dagestan) and this is no less important than what the first team achieves," he said.