- Louis Van Gaal has a reputation for winning titles within domestic leagues across Europe and being controversial.
- The Dutchman took the helm of global giants Manchester United in the summer of 2014.
- Away from the statistics of match records, there are some crazy stories from Van Gaal’s footballing and managerial career.
5. Van Gaal is a qualified Physical Education Teacher
During the earlier years of his semi-professional career, Van Gaal struggled to establish himself with the Dutch footballing landscape. Struggling to make ends meet financially, he trained to qualify as a Physical Education and Gymnastics teacher, working within various high-schools to support his career aspirations.
Whilst coaching the Netherland’s national team, Van Gaal frequently remarked of his boredom with the constraints of international management; explaining his enjoyment of engaging with players like he had within a teacher/pupil relationship.
4. Van Gaal is a black-belt in Karate
He may not have all the certificates and medals to prove it, but there’s not a single flaw to be found in Louis Van Gaal’s Karate kick technique!
Performed whilst holding a dossier of match notes for the Champions League Final between Ajax and AC Milan, Van Gaal was seemingly unimpressed by Milan’s style of defending. Re-enacting a challenge made by defender Marcel Desailly on Ajax forward Jari Litmanen, the incensed Van Gaal nearly took the 4th official’s head off!
3. Van Gaal had a short-lived career as a Football Pundit
During a successful campaign with AZ in which they were crowned league champions in 2009, Van Gaal was invited to be a pundit for Sport 1’s champions league coverage.
Upon learning that he was to be replaced by two new pundits for the following week’s episode, the self-assured manager was not at all impressed:
2. Van Gaal assaulted Barcelona Defender Gerard Pique
During Van Gaal’s reign in Catalonia, he became close friends with Barcelona board member Amador Bernabeu. The ironically named Bernabeu, was a passionate Barcelonista and had impressed his adoration of the club to his his grandson, Gerard Pique.
The club director was keen to introduce Van Gaal to Gerard, an aspiring centre back within Barcelona’s famous youth development programme. Upon meeting the 14 year old and hearing of his aspirations, Van Gaal forcefully shoved him to the ground.
According to the Barcelona centre back, Van Gaal towered over him and remarked: “You’re not tough enough to be a Barcelona defender!”
1. Van Gaal is an experienced Male Stripper
Are you enjoying that mental image!? That’s the image that is no doubt scarred onto the retina’s of the Bayern Munich squad from the 2010/2011 season.
After making a double substitution that many of the Bayern stars disagreed with, Van Gaal became increasingly frustrated trying to explain his decision. According to then-captain Marc Van Bommel, Van Gaal wanting to assert his dominance within the dressing room.
The Dutch manager then proceeded to pull down his suit trousers and underwear…
As former Bayern striker Luca Toni describes:
“Van Gaal wanted to make clear to us that he can drop any player from the team. It was all the same to him because, as he said, he had the balls.
He demonstrated this literally by dropping his pants. I have never experienced anything like it, it was totally crazy.”