Galaxy selects Ruud Gullit as new coach

Ruud Gullit, once one of the best soccer players in the world, has been hired to coach the Los Angeles Galaxy.

updated: November 10, 2007 10:07 IST
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Carson, California:

Ruud Gullit, once one of the best soccer players in the world, has been hired to coach the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The 45-year-old Dutchman will succeed Frank Yallop, who quit as coach of the David Beckham-led Galaxy on Monday to return to San Jose for a second stint with the Earthquakes of Major League Soccer.

Gullit, born in Amsterdam, was a star striker on the standout Dutch team that won the 1988 European Championship. Along with Dutch teammates Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, he joined Italian club AC Milan and the trio helped it win consecutive European Cup (now called Champions League) titles in 1989-90.

Gullit was the World Soccer Magazine's World Player of the Year in 1987 and 1989. He has spent the past two years as a TV soccer analyst.

Van Basten coaches the Netherlands and Rijkaard coaches FC Barcelona, arguably the best team in Europe. Gullit coached English clubs Chelsea and Newcastle, leading Chelsea to a triumph in the FA Cup _ the oldest and most famous domestic cup competition.

Gullit has coached only one season since 1999, leaving the Dutch club Feyenoord at the end of the 2004-05 season when it finished fourth in the Dutch League.

The Galaxy said on Thursday that Gullit would be introduced on Friday at The Home Depot Center, where they play their home games.

Galaxy president Alexi Lalas said on Monday on a conference call that the team "was looking to bring in somebody who can do something different.

"There certainly is interest in a high-profile, sexy kind of candidate," Lalas said, explaining what he meant by sexy as someone "with a personality, character, interesting, creative, innovative and that will bring something different to the Galaxy."

Lalas must have been thinking about Gullit when he made those remarks. Gullit coined the term "sexy football" while broadcasting for the BBC during the 1996 European Championship in England.

The Galaxy didn't make the MLS playoffs in two seasons under Yallop, going 18-12-20. Beckham signed with the team in January, but the English superstar didn't join the club until mid-July. Ankle and knee injuries severely limited his playing time.

The Galaxy will receive San Jose's third-round pick in the MLS draft as compensation for Yallop. San Jose had asked permission to talk with him and the Galaxy consented.