Tragedy forces van Gaal to end career

Former Man United manager Louis van Gaal lifting the FA Cup last year, despite an unsuccessful spell at the club.
Former Man United manager Louis van Gaal lifting the FA Cup last year, despite an unsuccessful spell at the club.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

AMSTERDAM • Former Manchester United and Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal has ended his coaching career following a family tragedy, Dutch media reported yesterday.

The 65-year-old, who has been out of work since United sacked him last May, has turned down a lucrative offer from China that would have seen him earn £44 million (S$77 million) in just three seasons.

"I could have gone (to China), but I'm still here," van Gaal told De Telegraaf. "So much has happened in my family that I have been forced to look at things differently."

The sudden death of his son-in-law had been the catalyst, he said.

"I had said (after leaving Manchester United) that I would stop, but I changed that into a sabbatical, but now I believe that I will not return to coaching."

Asked if he did not have any remaining ambitions, he said: "No, actually not. I have got everything in my life. I find it boring to mention it all but look at the countries where I have worked and the level of the clubs that I have coached, and there is nothing that remains.

WINNING UNDER PRESSURE

I was standing on the gangplank for the last six months. My head was in the guillotine, put there by the English media... Having gone through all that, and then walking away with the trophy, was incredible.

LOUIS VAN GAAL, former Man Utd manager, on why he feels winning last year's FA Cup was his greatest achievement.

"I actually wanted to stop after the World Cup (in Brazil in 2014) but then the opportunity in England came up. And that was a fantastic country that is now also on my CV."

Van Gaal said winning last year's FA Cup, against the backdrop of his impending dismissal, was the greatest achievement of his career.

"I was standing on the gangplank for the last six months," said the former Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager.

"My head was in the guillotine, put there by the English media. And then in those circumstances you have to try and stick to your vision and inspire the players of Manchester United...

"Having gone through all that, and then walking away with the trophy, was incredible for me."

Van Gaal also has won seven league titles, three more domestic cups, and a Champions League trophy.

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 18, 2017, with the headline 'Tragedy forces van Gaal to end career'. Print Edition | Subscribe