Football: Koeman to replace van Gaal as Netherlands coach after World Cup

Ronald Koeman (left) will take over as Netherlands coach when Louis van Gaal leaves the role. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

(REUTERS) - Ronald Koeman is to return as Netherlands coach when Louis van Gaal leaves the role after the World Cup in Qatar.

Van Gaal, who has long made it clear he will leave after the global football showpiece later this year, said last week he was receiving treatment for an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

Koeman had a successful two-and-a-half-year spell as national team coach before leaving to join Barcelona in 2020.

“I’m looking forward to the new collaboration,” Koeman told the Dutch football association (KNVB) website. “A little over a year and a half ago, I certainly did not leave the Dutch national team out of dissatisfaction.

“My stay felt good, the results were good, and the relationship with the players was good. We will soon continue on that path. That is certain for me.”

Marianne van Leeuwen, director of professional football at KNVB, said they were keen to confirm the post-World Cup future of the team as soon as possible to provide clarity for the players and stakeholders.

“We are very happy that Ronald will return next year. During his previous term as national coach, there was great satisfaction with his work and the results,” Van Leeuwen said.

Van Gaal gave Koeman told Dutch daily De Telegraaf that he had given his backing.

"They consulted me, I have a say in that," van Gaal said. "It's not that difficult. A year ago, I was the only coach available who had experience, that now applies to Koeman. He would be a good successor."

Koeman helped the Netherlands reach Euro 2020 after they had missed the previous tournament and the 2018 World Cup, and also to the Nations League final, where they lost 1-0 to Portugal.

He left for what he described as his "dream job" at Barcelona in August 2020, having spent a hugely successful six years at Nou Camp as a player, but was sacked by the Catalan side last October.

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