When Guus Hiddink became the caretaker manager at Chelsea after the sacking of Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari he quickly established himself as a cult fan favourite.
During his time at the club he only lost one game; a 1-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. The Dutchman also took the club to FA Cup glory in 2009 before leaving.
In stark contrast to another ‘interim’ manager who need not be named he was loved by all at the club.
The players even gave him a leaving gift in the form of a £200,000 engraved watch and the likes of John Terry, Michael Ballack and Petr Cech begged him to stay. I doubt that Rafa Benitez got as much as a goodbye.
Since then he went on to manage the Turkish national team before accepting a permanent position in charge of mega-rich Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala on an 18-month deal last winter.
In November last year the legendary manager confirmed he would be retiring from management stating:
"I'm basically going to stop at the end of the season. At 66 years old I think I've nearly had enough. I don't know what I'll do. Maybe I'll be an advisor or supervisor to young players or coaches. I want to teach people how to handle certain issues in football or how they can plot their career path. That sounds interesting. I will not disappear into a black hole. So Anzhi is basically the last team which I will coach."
Now while it is clear we have not heard the last of the charismatic Dutchman the Russian Cup final against CSKA Moscow did represent the dream opportunity to sign off like he did with Chelsea; in style.
Unfortunately football is a cruel mistress.
Despite hauling the tie into extra-time, courtesy of a strike from former Chelsea player Lassana Diarra, and CSKA going down to 10-men Hiddink could not mastermind a winning goal in the final 30 minutes.
So on to dreaded penalties; where CSKA completed the double with a 4-3 shootout triumph after another former Chelsea player, Yuri Zhirkov, saw his spot-kick saved and Jucilei blazed over from 12 yards.
So with that crushing defeat brings an end to one of the great managerial careers in which Hiddink won 14 trophies and managed his own country; as well as winning the hearts of South Korean, Australian and Russian football fans for his efforts with their respective national teams.
Good luck Guus in whatever venture greets you next.
What are you memories of Hiddink at Chelsea?
image: © Maarten Dirske