Ruud Gullit has admitted that he knew nothing about Terek Grozny until being named manager of the Chechen side and was “stunned” by the offer to take charge.
The two-time world player of the year also praised the Russian Premier League and said that his main goal was one day leading Terek into Europe.
“Obviously I could have never possibly imagined one day ending up in the Caucasus. Terek’s phone call stunned me. But life is full of surprises,” the former Dutch captain told Sovetsky Sport.
Some Russian commentators have suggested that Gullit may have a hard time adjusting to life in Chechnya after spending his recent years managing clubs in Los Angeles and London.
Gullit told the Sport Express daily that he would “only be coming to Grozny for the matches” and spending the rest of his time at a team training base about 200 kilometres (120 miles) west of the Chechen capital.
“The only thing that concerns me at this point is the language barrier,” he added.
Terek finished 12th in Russia’s 16-team top division and only started playing in Grozny after a nearly 15-year absence in 2008.
“I have a couple of tapes of some Terek matches. But I have only managed to watch segments from a few of their games,” Gullit told Sovetsky Sport.
Yet Gullit said he welcomed the challenge of getting a little-known team into Europe.
“I wanted to work in European football and Terek is setting itself the goal of playing in European cups,” he told Sport Express.
“I was also led to believe the club has the opportunity to strengthen the squad, and they think that my presence will help them obtain strong players. So these were basically my motives and I agreed to manage Terek.”