Five things you should know about Louis van Gaal, Manchester United's new manager

Netherlands' coach Louis van Gaal waits for the start of a friendly football match between France and Netherlands at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis near Paris on March 5, 2014, ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup football tournament. Louis van
Netherlands' coach Louis van Gaal waits for the start of a friendly football match between France and Netherlands at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis near Paris on March 5, 2014, ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup football tournament. Louis van Gaal is expected to be named the new manager of Manchester United. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

(Editor's note: On Monday, May 19, Manchester United confirmed Dutchman Louis van Gaal as the team's new manager. Ryan Giggs will be his assistant.)

Louis van Gaal is expected to be named the new manager of Manchester United. This sounds like good news to United fans as the current Netherlands national coach has won league titles at all the clubs he has coached (Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich). But while the Dutchman is lauded as a tactician, he is a controversial character who polarises opinions.

Here are five things you should know about the 62-year-old prospective boss of the Red Devils.

1) Van Gaal is a qualified gymnastics teacher, who had a playing career as a midfielder from 1972-1987 while supplementing his income coaching high-school gymnastics teams.

2) While Sir Alex Ferguson was knighted for his achievements at Manchester United, van Gaal received a similar honour from the Dutch monarchy. He was made a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau last month for his services to Dutch football, most notably his spell as Ajax coach (1991-1997) where he won 11 trophies, including the Champions League in 1995.

3) In 2007, van Gaal broke his ankle and fibula after attempting to pole vault at a reunion of his old sporting academy in Amsterdam. That meant he had to conduct training sessions for his AZ Alkmaar team by driving around in a golf buggy.

4) Although van Gaal fell out with stars such as Brazilian attacking midfielder Rivaldo and Italian striker Luca Toni at Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively, he has a softer side. Players remember him for making an effort to remember their wives' birthdays and the names of their children.

5) When he coached German powerhouse Bayern Munich, van Gaal once dropped his trousers and showed his genitals to his squad to prove a point that he dared to drop any player from the team.

Comments