Saturday, February 25, 2012

Louis van Gaal

Aloysius Paulus Maria "Louis" van Gaal OON (born 8 August 1951 in Amsterdam) is a Dutch football manager formerly in charge of Ajax, Netherlands, Barcelona, AZ and Bayern Munich. Before his career as coach van Gaal played as a midfielder for Royal Antwerp, Telstar, Sparta Rotterdam and AZ. Van Gaal is also a fully qualified gymnastics teacher, and has worked as such at high-schools during various stages of his career as a semi-professional football-player.

After a brief spell as coach at AZ, Van Gaal served as assistant coach under Leo Beenhakker at Ajax, and eventually took over as head coach in 1991. Under his lead, the club won three league titles, the UEFA Cup, and the Champions League. Van Gaal moved to Barcelona in 1997 and won two Spanish league titles and one Spanish Cup. After some disagreements at Barcelona, he was appointed coach of the Dutch national team, but then failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup. Another brief spell at Barcelona followed, before he became manager of AZ. After having won the Dutch championship with AZ in 2008–09, he was hired by Bayern Munich on 1 July 2009. In his first season at Munich, he secured the German league title and won the German Cup, and made it to the final of the Champions League.

Van Gaal is an avid promoter of attacking football, educated in the best traditions of the Total Football by Ajax and the Dutch national team of the 1970s. As a coach he is known as a slow starter who frequently finds his players needing ample time to grasp his tactics and intent of play. Generally his teams gather results in the second or third season under his coaching, an exception being the 2009–10 season when he grasped the German Bundesliga title and lost the UEFA Champions League final with FC Bayern Munich. During several periods in his career, Van Gaal has had his troubles with the media. He is known to be very blunt with media representatives he perceives to be asking him 'stupid' questions.

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