Bilic to leave Croatia at end of 2010 qualifiers

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The Independent Football

Slsaven Bilic has announced he will stand down as Croatia coach in November at the end of the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Bilic, who led his team to last summer's European Championships – reaching the quarter-finals – at the expense of England, has been linked with several Premier League coaching jobs. Yesterday, he told the Croatian newspaper Sportske Novosti: "I will stay at the helm until the end of this qualifying campaign but not a second more. Four years in this post is enough."

His team lie second in World Cup qualifying Group Six, five points behind the leaders, England, after four matches. "England are in a commanding position to cross the finish line first but things can change," Bilic added. "I have a hunch it won't be a walk in the park for them."

In Spain, La Liga resumes this weekend after a winter break with the leaders, Barcelona, facing struggling Real Mallorca at the Nou Camp tonight looking to extend a 10-point advantage at the top. The champions, Real Madrid, take on Villarreal at home tomorrow and have new signings Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Lassana Diarra in their squad for the first time. The defenders Pepe, Gabriel Heinze and Christoph Metzelder and the midfielders Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder are also fit again as Real try to move back into title contention.