Louis van Gaal

Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal is not lacking in self belief. Michael Regan / Getty Images

“I am who I am and I have my own ways. I'm not going to change and I have no desire to.”

Louis van Gaal, ladies and gentleman. Blunt with the media, as stubborn as a mule, but also one of the best modern day coaches, and promoter of Total Football.

Van Gaal oversaw the development of Patrick Kluivert, the De Boer brothers, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids and Edwin van der Sar after taking over as Ajax coach in 1991.

Those players all went on to have magnificent careers, and after winning the Eredivisie title and Champions League with them, he would go on to coach them for the national team between 2000 and 2002.

During his two spells with Barcelona (the first far more successful than the second) Van Gaal struggled to win over players and supporters, regularly clashing with the media. His rows with the team’s star player Rivaldo were frequent but it is to his credit that he enjoyed such success in the late 90s despite the turbulent atmosphere.

His title win at AZ Alkmaar ranks alongside his proudest achievements, while trophies came quickly at Bayern Munich where he won the league and cup double and reached the Champions League final in his first season.

Leading an unexceptionable Netherlands side to third place at the 2014 World Cup, prior to taking over at Manchester United, should rank alongside his greatest achievements.

In his latter years, Van Gaal's style of play has visibly slowed down. This was a criticism at Bayern and and at United the knives have been out at a club whose fanbase is used to the free-flowing soccer of the Sir Alex Ferguson years. If Van Gaal's style of play has changed, his remarkable self belief, verging on downright stubbornness, has most certainly not, and he continues to do things his own way.

Quick Facts:

  • Name: Aloysius Paulus Maria van Gaal
  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Date and Place of Birth: August 8, 1951 in Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Current Team: Manchester United
  • Previous Teams: Ajax (1991-1997), Barcelona (1997-2000), Netherlands (2000-2002), Barcelona (2002-2003), AZ Alkmaar (2005-2009), Bayern Munich (2009-2011), Netherlands (2012-2014)

Trophies Won:

Ajax:
1992 UEFA Cup
1993 Dutch Cup
1994 Dutch League
1995 Dutch League 1995 Champions League
1996 Dutch League

Barcelona:
1998 Spanish League
1998 Spanish Cup
1999 Spanish League

AZ Alkmaar:
2009 Dutch League

Bayern Munich:
2010 German League
2010 German Cup

Philosophy:

“Everyone needs to work together to achieve a common goal. Preparing your tactical formation is essential. Each player needs to know where he has to be, and that is why there needs to be mutual understanding because you need absolute discipline. This is a sport played by 22 men, and there are 11 opponents out there playing as a team. Each individual needs to know who he has to beat and be there to support his team-mates.”