Ballack wants Hiddink to stay

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Midfielder Michael Ballack wants interim coach Guus Hiddink to forget about Russia and sign on at Chelsea for a three-year stint.

The Dutchman continues to rule out staying beyond the end of the season when he is due to return to his main job as Russia's national team coach.

But Chelsea have reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the last eight of the Champions League under Hiddink and Ballack said: "I would love for him to say he is staying for three years. Everybody in the club and around the club can feel he is a great manager and even in a short time he has had a big influence on the team."

Ballack's sentiments were echoed by the club's Czech Republic international goalkeeper Petr Cech.

He is another player who has rediscovered his top form under the Dutchman's influence.

"He is a very good coach and we want him to stay," said Cech. "But it is a difficult political situation and we will have to wait to see what happens."

The political situation will ultimately be solved by the Russian Football Union. They allowed Hiddink to join Chelsea because of his close relationship with the club's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.

Their friendship could be tested to the limit in the summer if the pressure grows on Hiddink to remain with Chelsea on a full-time basis.

Russian Football Union president, Vitaly Mutko, admitted things could change in the summer but says it would be better for Hiddink to remain in charge of a national side.

"At the moment, we have an agreement with Guus Hiddink that he will combine the two posts only until the summer," said Mutko. "Of course, everything can change, but we should take into account that, for Hiddink, it is better to work with a national side. He is not only a coach but also an organiser, a politician - not a club man."

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Petr Cech
European News
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Michael Ballack
FA Cup

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