Football: Louis van Gaal denies retirement, unsure about return

Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said he has not retired and will make a decision on his future at the end of a sabbatical year.
Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said he has not retired and will make a decision on his future at the end of a sabbatical year. PHOTO: AFP

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Former Manchester United and Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal has dismissed a report in Dutch media that he has retired from coaching and said he will make a decision about his future at the end of a sabbatical year.

The 65-year-old, who has been out of work since being sacked by United last May, told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser in the early hours of Wednesday morning that he had rejected an offer to coach struggling Spanish club Valencia last month.

Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf said on Monday Van Gaal had decided to call time on his coaching career, with the sudden death of his son-in-law influencing his decision.

"I've not retired," he told Cadena Ser. "I'm on a sabbatical year and then I'll decide if I do or not. There's a big possibility of me retiring but it's not definitive.

"In Holland the press write whatever they want. Like in Spain, they pay attention to other things."

Van Gaal, who lead Ajax Amsterdam to the Champions League title in 1995 and won league titles with Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar and Bayern Munich, said his return would depend on which team came in for him.

"Whether I continue or not will also depend on the offers I get. I've coached many clubs and I think it's very difficult to improve on that level of clubs," he added.

"It's not true that I've retired, not at this moment, but I'll decide at the end of my sabbatical, next June or July."

Van Gaal had told Dutch media he had turned down a lucrative offer to coach in China after the death of his son-in-law.

"I could have gone there (China), but I'm still here," Van Gaal was quoted as saying. "So much has happened in my family that I have been forced to look at things differently."