So it seems that Louis Van Gaal could be set to take the reigns at Old Trafford, taking over from legendary Player/Manager Ryan Giggs at the end of the current season.
It’s been a strange old time for fans of the club, with seemingly hundreds of records being broken (in a bad way) in a single season without Sir Alex Ferguson in charge, and with David Moyes looking more-and-more as a scapegoat for the way the year turned out.
Louis Van Gaal is the odds-on favourite to take the hotseat as manager of Manchester United, and it seems that if there’s one man who can handle the pressure, who can happily tell the media to shut up, who isn’t afraid to stand up to the players, and who will mould his team into one which plays attacking, attractive football, then it seems to be Mr Van Gaal.
One of the biggest positives going for Van Gaal, or the next manager at Old Trafford, is that they won’t be known as the man who replaced Sir Alex Ferguson. Moyes has carried that burden, and seen out the consequences of such a thankless task. Louis Van Gaal will be seen as the man to take United out of the slump that they find themselves in, and to bring them back into Europe and into the top 3, at least, of the Premier League.
Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Louis Van Gaal, but perhaps should:
1. Van Gaal will be managing at the World Cup in Brazil
Van Gaal is unlikely to be the sort to hang around waiting for things to happen. You can imagine that currently he’ll be completely focused on his national job with the Netherlands, whom he’ll be taking to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup finals. He’ll of course link up with Robin Van Persie, when fit, the current United striker. For Holland he works alongside Patrick Kluivert, with rumours that he’ll join Van Gaal at Old Trafford as an assistant, should he take the job. There are also rumours that he’d like to keep Giggs on as a coach in his role with the club.
2. Van Gaal is a fully-qualified Gymnastics Teacher
Van Gaal wasn’t a prolific footballer in his playing days (akin to the likes of Jose Mourinho so not really that pertinent in today’s world of modern football management) and so backed up his semi-professional career by working as a gymnastics teacher in various high schools.
Van Gaal has recently reported finding it boring working as a national team manager; he missed the daily interaction with his footballers, reminding him of his days working as a gymnastics teacher when he would be in daily contact with his pupils.
It’s unlikely however that we’ll see Wayne Rooney on the Vault Box anytime soon.
3. Van Gaal once assaulted a 14 year old Gerard Pique at Barcelona
I use the term “assault” very lightly here, lawyers of Van Gaal… The story goes as follows, during Van Gaal’s time as manager of Barcelona:
“Piqué’s grandfather was even a club director, and one day he invited Barcelona’s coach Louis van Gaal to lunch. “This,” he said, introducing the young Gerard, “is my grandson – a centre-back for Barcelona’s youth team.” Van Gaal looked at Piqué and, without warning, pushed him over. Towering above the 14- year-old, he barked: “You’re too weak to be a Barcelona defender.””
4. Van Gaal is Bruce Lee
See evidence below, a Youtube video showing Van Gaal performing a very-impressive Karate-kick as an example of Marcel Desailly’s high-foot challenge in which he nearly decapitated an Ajax defender during the European Cup final.
Forget the hairdryer treatment, any United players who don’t pull their weight next season better start learning some kind of self-defence already (Cleverley please take note)
5. Van Gaal once dropped his trousers to prove who had the biggest b*lls
Although, perhaps quite fortunately, evidence of this incident doesn’t physically exist, there is anecdotal evidence from Luca Toni that Van Gaal did in fact once drop his trousers to prove to his Bayern Munich team that he was in charge, that he had the biggest balls and that he was, to quote Ray Winstone the godfather of Bet365, “the daddy”.
6. Van Gaal nearly joined Man United in 2002
Back when Ferguson was originally set to retire from the club, it had been arranged that Louis Van Gaal would take over. The then chief-executive Peter Kenyon had arranged for Van Gaal to take over, only for Sir Alex Ferguson to change his mind and go on to continue to manage the club for another 13 seasons!
7. Van Gaal is Marmite
Marmite – you either love it or hate it. Unfortunately with many of Van Gaal’s ex-players, he falls into the later category. Here are a few interesting quotes from former players:
“Van Gaal is the Hitler of the Brazilian players, is arrogant, proud and has a problem. He has no idea of football. His type is sick, he’s crazy.”
“His management style reminds me of that of Felix Magath.”
8. Van Gaal is the original Mourinho
You may think Jose Mourinho is one of a kind, the most original and interesting manager in football. It is in fact Louis Van Gaal that is the original special one. With a reputation for being difficult with the media, and a distinct lack of humility, it seems that Van Gaal vs Mourinho would be a very interesting battle should the Dutchman head to the Premier League (be-it with United or Tottenham Hotspur).
Here are a few of Van Gaal’s most interesting quotes, as said by the man himself:
Congratulations on signing the best coach in the world.
(said to an Ajax Director after signing his first contract as a coach).
Louis van Gaal has nothing more to learn.
(said about himself, back in 2001).
I have achieved more with Ajax in six years than Barcelona has in one hundred years.
(after becoming coach of Barcelona in 1997).
I cry almost every day. There’s always something that touches me.
(revealing his more sensitive side with a journalist).
Friends of the press, I’m leaving. Congratulations.
(after announcing that he is leaving Barcelona).
9. Van Gaal isn’t afraid to bench star players
He famously benched Rivaldo, the recently-retired star man at Barcelona. Having won the Ballon d’Or and FIFA Woelrd Player of the Year award, Rivaldo confronted the manager and asked to be moved up front instead of being played out on the wing. Van Gaal retorted by benching the Brazilian.
Let’s hope Kagawa doesn’t moan about being played out of position under the Dutchman…
10. Van Gaal is a Youtube Sensation
The famed Dutchman is somewhat of a sensation with his crazy-Dutch fans, just check out some of the YouTube videos below featuring remixes of his interviews and press-conferences. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t understand a word of Dutch, hilarity still ensues.
Surely if he’s going to bring this much entertainment to the Premier League then who cares if he’s the right choice for Manchester United?