Louis van Gaal confirmed in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf on Monday that he would not be seeking another position in football management.
The 65-year-old’s final post, at Manchester United, ended hours after the Dutchman helped the Red Devils lift the FA Cup, marking the first piece of major silverware since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club.
Despite receiving substantial offers from the Far East, Van Gaal cited family as the underlying reason for his retirement.
A glittering coaching career across Europe brought many trophies, but Van Gaal will also be remembered for a number of amusing incidents.
Here, Sport360 remembers seven instances Van Gaal made the football world laugh.
When Manchester United faced would-be champions Leicester City in late April, much of the post-match talk surrounded a single moment. During a set-piece, Marouane Fellaini and Robert Huth were involved in a mini-scuffle which escalated when the Leicester defender pulled the Belgian’s hair, with Fellaini retaliating by throwing an elbow.
The BBC approached Van Gaal to hear his thoughts on the matter but what followed was a somewhat unexpected response…
Speaking at a pre-season press conference, Van Gaal was questioned about Wayne Rooney and explained the rationale behind his choice to keep the No. 10 as United’s captain. He added that Michael Carrick was the second-choice captain and then introduced the media to a newly christened centre-back.
Although the incident when Van Gaal hurled himself to the ground against Arsenal after arguing with fourth official Mike Dean is the subject of countless memes and jokes, it wasn’t the first time the Dutchman sought to get his point across on the touchline.
During the 1995 Champions League final against AC Milan, France international Marcel Desailly raised his leg dangerously and was only inches away from grazing Ajax attacker Jari Litmanen. The referee allowed to play go on uninterrupted but Van Gaal was having none of it, offering his own interpretation of the Rossoneri defender’s challenge before being ordered to restrain himself in the dugout.
Managers at times go to great lengths to motivate and boost player morale; while at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola reportedly moved players to tears, after creating a film montage interspersed with clips from Russell Crowe’s Gladiator ahead of the Champions League final against Manchester United in 2009.
Van Gaal certainly had his own eccentric manner and took matters into his own hands, quite literally. World Cup-winner Luca Toni didn’t see eye-to-eye with the Dutchman during his Bayern Munich stint, later telling Bild: “Van Gaal simply didn’t want to work with me, he treats players like interchangeable objects.
“The coach wanted to make clear to us that he can drop any player, it was all the same to him because, as he said, he had the balls. He demonstrated this literally [by dropping his trousers]. I have never experienced anything like it, it was totally crazy. Luckily I didn’t see a lot, because I wasn’t in the front row.”
The pressure was mounting on Van Gaal at Manchester United in early 2016 after his side suffered a defeat to Southampton. Injuries to Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young contributed to Van Gaal’s defensive woes, leading one journalist to ask whether a move for out-of-contract Ashley Cole might be on the horizon. In response, Van Gaal said “he didn’t play for a year” before patronisingly patting the journalist on the cheek.
Van Gaal was never one to pass up the opportunity to express his own brand of humour, and also demonstrated that he can do more than manage football clubs. In 2009, he left viewers and the media puzzled after appearing on a TV segment with Dutch presenter Kees Jansma.
Offended he wasn’t considered for future broadcasts, he voiced his rage before walking off the set in what appeared to be a shockingly ill-tempered response. It was later revealed that it was all a ruse and the clip was produced for promotional purposes. Well played, Louis.
While at Bayern Munich, Van Gaal was a very happy man after clinching the German domestic double in 2010 and produced a memorable speech from atop the balcony of Munich City Hall.
He began by thanking the women assembled before enthusiastically explaining why his squad was probably the best there was in Europe at the time. United fans may remember a similar instance at the club’s Player of the Year awards, when he profusely thanked the saxophone player and teased Ryan Giggs throughout the ceremony.
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