LONDON: Al-Hilal are rooting for their former coach to topple France and pull off an unlikely World Cup win on Sunday.
Zlatko Dalic has choreogrpahed Croatia’s fairytale run to the final of the tournament in Russia yet just four years ago he was in charge of Al-Hilal. His period in Riyadh is clearly fondly remembered.
“Congratulations to @DalicZlatko on qualifying for the #WorldCup final,” read a tweet from the club Twitter’s account. “All the best next Sunday.”
In 2013, Dalic was promoted mid-season from managing the club's B team when Antoine Kombouare left and he won the Saudi Prince Cup and finished runners-up in the Saudi Pro League, but his contract was not extended that summer and he was replaced by Sami Al-Jaber.
Dalic won 11 of his 18 games in charge and left the King Fahd International Stadium with a win percentage of 61. He went on to coach in Al-Ain for three years before landing the Croatia job last year.
“Zlatko remains very popular there,” said Khalid Ghadin, who works for the Saudi Professional League. “When he left Hilal he had many lucrative offers from clubs smaller than Hilal, but he rejected them all. It was the same when he left Al-Ain. He always said he would not be guided by money, and now he is coach of his national team.”
Dalic also acknowledged the support he has received from the Gulf in a tweet.
Thank you for supporting my National team Croatia! pic.twitter.com/r4m4nqxtF1— Zlatko Dalić (@DalicZlatko) July 10, 2018