The return of Louis van Gaal

Van Gaal is going for a third term as coach of the Dutch national team. The former coach of Ajax, Barcelona, AZ, Bayern Munich and Manchester United wants Danny Blind and Henk Fraser to assist him. All involved reached an agreement after the KNVB officially announced the news on August 4th, 2021. On this page: a look back at the remarkable career of 'The Tulip General'.

Career as a player

As a child, Van Gaal started playing football at RKSV De Meer in Amsterdam. He eventually made it to the first team of Ajax in 1972, but did not get to play. In the four years at Antwerp FC he scored 7 goals in 41 matches, in the years that followed he remained active at Dutch clubs such as Telstar, Sparta and AZ. He ended his playing career in 1987.

Previous tournaments as a coach

As national coach, Van Gaal failed to guide the Dutch team to the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Portugal. Under his leadership, the Dutch team finished third at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. On 1 August 2021, he became coach of the Dutch national team again, succeeding Bert van Marwijk. This World Cup was a success: in the consolation final, the Dutch team won 3-0 against Brazil, with Van Gaal and the Dutch taking bronze.

Media appearances

Van Gaal gained a reputation for his dealings with the media. He was often provoked by journalists and these meetings often led to heated discussions. In England, as coach of Manchester United, he quickly became a well-known and beloved figure. The Guardian summed him up in 2016 as follows: "The Dutchman's prickly press conferences and deadly gaze reveal a complex character: of someone with polarising opinions, regardless of the country he coaches in.

"Ben ik nou degene die zo slim is, of ben jij zo dom?"

"I have been too naive. So many things are written about me that are not based on truth or knowledge. Always having to read that I am arrogant. I am self-assured, I have an opinion. I walk straight. With such an attitude and such a charisma, you are easily taken for arrogant."

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