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Louis van Gaal
Gender Male
Ethnic Dutch
Job Dutch Coach
Desc Louis van Gaal had the honour of managing four of the most famous clubs in history during his career - Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United - and he won trophies with all of them. The Dutchman has famously fallen out with plenty of people over the years, but his greatest strength was his faith in young talent. So many modern legends, including Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert, Xavi, Carles Puyol Andres Iniesta, made their senior debut under Van Gaal, while he proved so influential for others like Frank de Boer, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller.


Nation as Coach Dutch National Team
Club as Coach Manchester United
  Ajax FC


Dutch National Team Van Gaal’s lead Netherlands to a third-placed finish at the 2014 World Cup
Style Van Gaal use slow style of possession-orientated football

2014 08 16 Retrieve

[An underwhelmed Louis van Gaal after Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Valencia] We have won in spite of that we have played our worst game

2015 01 24 Retrieve

[Louis van Gaal’s unusual description of the physical effects of his tactical tinkering at Manchester United] We have won more with 4-4-2 in a [midfield] diamond, but when you analyse the game then we have twitched our asses on the bench. I have twitched my ass because we were out of balance. I told my players I was squeezing my ass, but [they said] it was the wrong expression. All the matches when we play 4-4-2, like against West Ham United (whom United beat 2-1), it was always twitching your ass, and I don’t like it

2015 02 14 Retrieve

[Louis van Gaal was keen to show his opposite number that the numbers from their game showed something different] I give you this [diagram], you can copy it and then maybe you can go to Big Sam and he will get a good interpretation

2015 02 26 Retrieve

[Tyler Blackett pens new United deal] I am delighted that Tyler has signed a new contract. He is another young player that has risen through the academy system to break into the first-team squad this season. Tyler has great potential and I believe he is at the right club to continue his development and progression to become a great defender

2015 05 30 Retrieve

[Louis van Gaal on English football] I can say a positive thing and I can say a negative thing. The accommodation for the players to dress themselves, to change into their club shirts, is in most stadiums not so good. And also a place for the manager - I spend a lot of time sat on the toilet! Not to [do a poo], but because there’s no other place! But the way football is lived here in the minds of the people is unbelievable. They live football, football is living, and living is football. That is not the case in Germany. In Spain’s it’s a little more, but here it’s unbelievable

2015 08 01 Retrieve

[Louis van Gaal on Victor Valdes] He is not selected because he does not follow our philosophy. Last season, he refused to play in the second team and there are other aspects you need as a keeper at United. When you are not willing to follow those principles, there is only one way and that is out

2015 08 23 Retrieve

[Louis van Gaal on Mephis Depay after the Dutchman’s double against Club Brugge] I want to kiss him tonight

2015 10 04 Retrieve

[Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United] It was a very bad start, without aggression and the will to win. That is the first time I have seen that from my team. I did not expect that. We have won our last four matches - I gave the players a day off because they were tired. On Saturday the training was normal, I was very amazed to see that. When you give a team like Arsenal so much space to play football, then you know that you shall lose. But all teams will have a dip

2015 10 17 Retrieve

[Louis van Gaal on keeping the chef happy at Old Trafford] It has been an awful two weeks because before the last international break we lost against Swansea. It’s not only the players, it’s the staff, and my cook, Mike, because he has a big influence on the atmosphere in the canteen

2015 11 07 Retrieve

[Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal on criticism from home fans for lack of goals] I can only advise the fans to criticise the manager and not the players. It’s very difficult to play for Manchester United with a lot of pressure and when it is also that you can taste that at Old Trafford because of all the yelling then it’s not good for all my players. It’s better to whistle at the manager. I can cope with it because I have had a lot of experience in it as my life as a manager

2015 11 14 Retrieve

[Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal expresses his view on the club’s fans telling his team to attack] When you are yelling ‘Attack! Attack! Attack!’ and you attack for 85 minutes, you have to think as a fan, is it all right to yell that? They want us to know we have to score. My mother knows that and my grandmother knows that. Goals are always the most important thing

2015 11 21 Retrieve

[Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal on the evolution of the modern football manager] Feedback is very important […] but I have to say that because when I don’t say that then I’m arrogant. I am also an innovator and I have changed a lot. I was the first coach who was with a notebook. Now everybody is with a notebook. I was the first coach who used video. I’m from a time where you [the manager] did everything. Now I’m the manager and I have a sports science department, I have a scouting department, I have a medical department, I have assistant managers, I have assistant coaches. I don’t do anything […] nothing! I delegate. I delegate and I earn a lot of money

2016 02 13 Retrieve

[on Jose Mourinho] (He was) an arrogant young man, who didn’t respect authority that much, but I did like that of him. He was not submissive - he used to contradict me when I was in the wrong. Finally, I wanted to hear what he had to say and ended up listening to him more than any of the assistants

2016 02 13b Retrieve

[Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal opens up about his softer side] I hope that all the people who work with me remember me as a human being. It is special here at Carrington, but I think it was the same for me in Munich and Barcelona. Whether it is like that, I don’t know, but I like people. When you give your fellow employees attention for what they are doing for us, it makes a difference. I am empathetic to the job and I want to be a human being where I work. Sometimes players are very fed up with my communication, but that’s what I do and they know how I think. But they know I am very transparent

2016 02 14 Retrieve

[on Jose Mourinho] Mourinho was very angry. He was very irritated and shouted. That was impressive for me, because he had emotions and he was right. I asked him to be the coach, the trainer, because he knew the team and he could help me. He said ‘yes’ and stayed three years with me. He analysed all the games for me and did it very well. He took the individual training sessions and I also let him coach the games of the Copa Catalunya. He won it

2016 02 27 Retrieve

[Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal responding to media asking if his side needs to match Midtjylland’s desire to win in the UEFA Europa League] You are right, your word is fantastic: Desire. Also, ‘hungry’ and a lot of times I use the word ‘horny’

2016 02 28 Retrieve

[When Van Gaal yelled at Mike Dean, the fourth official, and dived to the turf to mimic how he believed Alexis Sánchez was trying to claim a foul, the place went through the roof. It had the fans singing ‘Louis van Gaal’s army’ for the first time in a long time] Great but the fans are not always wise

2016 03 05 Retrieve

[Louis van Gaal offers an explanation after falling down in his technical area to making a point to the fourth official about diving during the Red Devils 3-2 win against Arsenal] I am not a clown. I am Louis van Gaal, I am a human being and a manager

2016 06 23 Retrieve

[Sir Bobby asked van Gaal to keep the young man, Jose Mourinho, on] His anger was fantastic to see Then I said: ‘You are my man’

2017 01 21 Retrieve

[Louis van Gaal talks about life after coaching] I thought maybe I would stop, then I thought it would be a sabbatical, but now I do not think I will return to coaching. So much has happened in my family, you become a human being again with your nose pressed to the facts

2019 04 20 Retrieve

[Louis Van Gaal tells that this year Ajax’s side have the quality to win the tournament] Creative football with a good balance between attack and defence - this is the trick. Ajax have such a lot of creative players. I said it after seeing the matches against Bayern Munich in the group stage: Ajax can go all the way, although the best teams are still in the race

2019 04 29 Retrieve

[When United toured Australasia in 2014, the club had made a 24,000-mile round trip and in 2012 they covered 22,000 miles when travelling to Durban, Cape Town, Shanghai, Oslo and Gothenburg] Maybe it is too big a club. Not only in a sporting sense but also commercially. We have to do a lot of things that normally I don’t allow. I have to adapt to this big club but I think also this big club has to adapt to Van Gaal. I hope we can have some balance to that

2019 06 03 Retrieve

[Louis van Gaal has questioned the spending power and appeal of Manchester United] The problem begins with, of course, that Manchester United was never refreshed. I think when you are a manager you have to refresh every year to keep the team-building process going.

[Van Gaal added on his transfer frustrations] I didn’t always get the players that I want. That’s the problem. There is Ed Woodward and his right hand is [head of corporate development] Matt Judge. Judge I met once in a while but not too much. And there was the head of scouting. That was the structure but you are always dependent on Woodward and Judge. I thought always Manchester United can buy every player because they have a lot of power. Seemingly a few players were not reachable for Manchester United. I cannot understand but it was like that

[Despite being disappointed at how his time with United came to an end, Van Gaal insists he has no regrets] No. The way they sacked me was terrible. But I like my time in England, because of the culture, because of the people. A lot of humour and always supporting the manager. I have respect for everybody I worked with

[The baton has since been taken up by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] I was very surprised he got it [the job] in spite of the winning run at the start. Because Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world that needs a manager with experience and not a manager who has trained at one or two teams and on a lower level

2019 06 03b Retrieve

[Louis van Gaal takes aim at Man Utd legend Wayne Rooney despite making him his captain] I’m sorry but he was over the hill. But in spite of that he was one of my best players.

[Quizzed on why he made Rooney skipper] You can say nothing about his professionalism as a player in the training sessions or on a pitch. Outside the environment of the training pitch and the stadium is different. I made him my captain because I want to control that life outside

This is significant that I have to think a lot. Luke Shaw was starting very well but he was kicked out [badly injured] by PSV. Shaw was above average. Ander Herrera was above average. He started not so well but he became more important for the team because of his inspiring behaviour and coaching qualities. I think that overall Daley Blind was my most consistent player with high qualities for building up the play. Juan Mata was also a quality player with a lot of creativity and I was very happy with him because we had a big lack of creative players. That’s why we played that, in your eyes, ‘boring football’. We did not have too many creative players to increase the tempo of the ball and to use more vertical passes. But it was better than parking the bus, I think. We played there [points to the opposition half]. We were mostly always better than our opponents, but, when your opponent is parking the bus, you need creative players. That’s why I allowed Angel di Maria and Memphis Depay to come because they were creative players and I think a team needs at least three or four creative players to break down those opponents.

[Van Gaal added on the problems he faced in bringing the required quality in] In scouting players, Manchester United don’t have the organisation to deliver the best players in my opinion. Then with the education of players, you cannot say that the education of Manchester United is very good. How many players are coming through? With Manchester United, you have a fantastic performance department and that is under the guidance of the doctor. But this performance department needs also the guidance of an experienced technical director. You have to use that department not only for the first team but also intensively for the youth education. Then young players are more educated in the philosophy of Man United and the big step to the first team is much easier. These are the important aspects that you have to develop as a technical director

2019 06 03c Retrieve

[Louis van Gaal says Matthijs de Ligt should choose Pep Guardiola over Lionel Messi] I think exactly the same. Although De Ligt can go to Barcelona too, because I don’t like their central defenders either. He could play at Barcelona, but he could play for Manchester City also, and in that case, I would choose Pep Guardiola over Lionel Messi.

I think it’s going to be very difficult for him there. Not only because he might get a different role, but he also has to play those other players from the starting line-up. He is lucky that Barcelona has been eliminated in the semi-final [of the Champons League], because then their status will be different

I think he’s a great player, but I think Ivan Rakitic is also a great player. And I wanted to buy Arturo Vidal at Manchester United five years ago. I think that as a player you should also choose a club where you can always play. The question is whether that is justified in Barcelona. I hope so because at that age you have to play every game. I think he could have made better choices because I think the whole world is waiting for Frenkie de Jong. I am so positive about him

2019 06 03d Retrieve

[Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has slammed the club’s appointment of Ed Woodward] At Bayern, the people in charge are football men. I always appreciated that. At Manchester United, on the other hand, Ed Woodward was installed as CEO - somebody with zero understanding of football who was previously an investment banker. It cannot be a good thing when a club is run solely from a commercially-driven perspective

[The Dutchman has never made any secret of his disappointment at how his departure was handled] I don’t hold it against the club. They wanted Jose Mourinho and he was on the market. Appointing him was obviously interesting from a business point of view. He wins games and for a club like Manchester United, the main thing is to win trophies. How they are won isn’t the main priority, the English fans see it differently. They accept that the game is not all about attacking but it is also about defending. I always tried to defend high up the pitch, to be in the opposition’s half and play the game there

2019 06 24 Retrieve

[Louis van Gaal has hit out at Lionel Messi, claiming the Barcelona talisman should be adapting himself to the team, and not the other way around] I believe that there is nothing more important than the team player. Barca suffer from that. I think Messi should ask himself how it is possible that he’s gone so long without winning a Champions League. Look at Barcelona. How many Champions Leagues have they won with the one everybody says is the best player in the world? Look at Neymar at PSG. How many Champions Leagues has he won? He’s the best individual player in the world because his stats are amazing. But why hasn’t he won a Champions League for five years?

As captain, you have to ask yourself why the team doesn’t win in Europe. I think that Messi is also responsible for what is happening at Barcelona, not just the coach. They have a squad of 30 players and I believe that Messi should adapt himself to the team, and not the other way around.

[The 67-year-old expressed that he has always been a firm believer in team spirit, and argued that Pep Guardiola is the only Barcelona manager to have treated Messi in the right way] Guardiola made him play to the benefit of the team but the last few coaches have adapted too much to Messi instead of protecting team spirit. Team spirit is the most important thing. Messi adjusted to Guardiola’s plan, not the other way around

2019 07 04 Retrieve

[Greater guidance for Ed Woodward is an imperative, particularly given his non-footballing background which was all-too-publicly mocked by Louis van Gaal recently] At Bayern Munich, the people in charge are football men. I always appreciated that. At Manchester United, on the other hand, Ed Woodward was installed as CEO - somebody with zero understanding of football who was previously an investment banker. It cannot be a good thing when a club is run solely from a commercially-driven perspective

2019 11 01 Retrieve

[Muller is no Schweinsteiger: Unsettled Bayern Munich forward still a world-class player. Van Gaal admitted last year] I can confirm that I wanted Thomas Muller. But there was nothing we could do. FC Bayern made it clear that they would not sell him

2020 03 03 Retrieve

[Van Gaal: Frenkie de Jong should’ve gone to Juventus] I am no longer the Barcelona coach, but I think Rakitic and Arthur can play in the midfield at the same time as De Jong. No. Frenkie de Jong has speed. He also has the insight to defend forwards at the right moments. Barca could improve the centre of defence by putting Frenkie there. He is doing very well if we consider that he is a 22-year-old who has just gone abroad to a different culture. Barca paid a high price for him, which adds more pressure

[De Jong plays] because of the price he cost, I am convinced of it. Valverde would have liked to have him, but now there is another coach and the question is whether he will continue playing since this coach wasn’t the one to buy him. He is not playing in his position. At Ajax, everyone was looking for him, he was the centre of the game while at Barca it is not like that. This is the big difference. If only one club had to buy Matthijs de Ligt, it would have been Barcelona. And with Busquets, it turns out that Frenkie de Jong should have gone to Juventus. Barca lacks more a De Ligt type player than De Jong

2020 04 05 Retrieve

[Van Gaal blasts clubs trying to use coronavirus for their own benefit] If it is established that the coronavirus has been defeated, you first have to finish the current competition. Sport is there to designate a winner on the field. Not to say after 25 matches we cut things off and Ajax is champion. It doesn’t matter that AZ has the same number of points in three quarters of a competition? That is nonsense. Anyone who is an athlete understands what I mean.

I also find it outrageous how the health issue is used in the discussion about ‘playing out or quitting’. The whole of the Netherlands adheres to what RIVM (Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) prescribes. They are the specialists. But while the government has also been following the experts for weeks, some football clubs suddenly say that it is not possible - Ajax first.

Who doesn’t want to play out? Check it out - clubs that are now in a European position, with the exception of Feyenoord, and clubs in the relegation zone. Clubs that misuse this corona crisis for their own gain and then make it a public health statement; I’m a man who can’t take that. If it is allowed by the experts of the RIVM, I actually hope that the middle bracket of the division can ensure that the competition is completed.

You can also play the season out in June or July. There is plenty of time this summer, the European Championship is off the calendar. And if UEFA and FIFA are willing to change rules and provide space, well then get started. And next season the league then gets a bit thicker, through more week-day duels. It can be great in the load of players, because in these weeks they are now unintentionally resting.

2020 05 08 Retrieve

[Louis van Gaal blames Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward for his departure from the club in 2016] I blame Ed Woodward, my CEO at Manchester United, much more than Mourinho. In my view, Woodward is the evil genius

Daniel Levy went to my house here in Noordwijk and left in the trunk, because Jack van Gelder [a local journalist] was outside. It took a long time and he actually gave Manchester United the opportunity to make an offer

[Since leaving the Red Devils, Van Gaal has resisted the urge to return to management and officially announced his retirement in early 2019] I am a pensioner now. I have no ambition to be a technical director or a TV pundit. My wife Truus gave up her job for me 22 years ago and followed me when I went abroad. I told her I would quit as a coach when I turned 55, but instead kept going until I was 65. She is entitled to have a life with me outside of football. I can say she is very happy. I think I could have worked as a technical director

2020 05 10 Retrieve

[Van Gaal: I had my head in a noose at Man Utd, my wife warned me!] The hardest thing was trying to survive as Manchester United’s manager when I had my head in a noose for six months. From January until the end of the season, my wife Truus warned me. She is a woman - and a woman has an instinct for things like this. I did not see what Woodward was up to, but women have different qualities than men. I really did not sense that they were plotting something. I was wholly convinced that I’d be able to see out my contract and have a third season at United. And it was the biggest surprise of my life when Woodward sacked me. I had faced resistance internally at other clubs and federations before. But that was nothing compared to what I had to put up with at Man Utd. At Barcelona, I walked away because I was loyal to the president. I waved away £5 million. But my principles were more important at United - I had achieved so much there

In my opinion, it should be Mourinho who should speak up about what happened - if he would be prepared to do so. But Mourinho does not have to call me anymore. I was left with my head in a noose, waiting to be hanged all that time after January. But I still kept the trust of the players, so I am proud. It was a massive achievement that year. What I achieved at Man Utd I consider the biggest performance in my entire career. Bigger than any other trophy or what I did with Holland in the World Cup in Brazil. And, for more than one reason, I see my work at United as bigger than anything else. We won the FA Cup with 10 men in extra time at Wembley. The FA Cup is the most prestigious national cup competition in the world, so I was immensely proud to win that.

2020 05 18 Retrieve

[former Ajax and Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal expects Hakim Ziyech to thrive in England] e has developed tremendously at Ajax. Not so much in creativity, but as a team player. The public has come to realise that he works very hard for a creative player. And then he also scores goals and gives assists. That makes you a special player

2020 05 19 Retrieve

[Former Ajax and Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes Chelsea have signed an excellent player in Hakim Ziyech and he expects the Morocco international to thrive in the Premier League] He has developed tremendously at Ajax. Not so much in creativity, but as a team player. The public has come to realise that he works very hard for a creative player. And then he also scores goals and gives assists. That makes you a special player

2020 05 28 Retrieve

[Van Gaal slams Man Utd’s transfer strategy: A turnover of £600m and can’t buy the players you need!] Manchester United did not have the qualities to become champions and had an outdated selection with 10 players over 30, five over 35. So I told them I was going to rejuvenate and which players should come. I didn’t get one of those. Then you end up in a different segment and as a coach you have to push your boundaries. You don’t expect that at the richest club in the world. A turnover of £600 million and can’t buy the players you need. You should buy number one and not number seven. Of course, the selling club also thinks: ‘If you are so rich, you also have to pay the highest amount imaginable for a player’. That was what happened with transfers. Then you have to do with the numbers seven or eight on your wish list. For which you actually pay way too much money, on which the coach is judged and convicted.

[While disappointed at how things played out at United] I am an optimist. You have to disappoint me more than once if I want to close the door. Everyone gets a second chance with me. Despite those disappointments, Manchester United did win the FA Cup. Manchester United has actually been the greatest achievement of my career