He may have his detractors in England in response to Manchester United’s current, arguably cautious, style of play.
But, when it comes to interviews, this guy is box office magic. It may even be fair to say that his sound bites eclipse those of the great Sir Alex Ferguson, in terms of compelling audio.
In his latest interview published by The Telegraph today Van Gaal talks about his time in football including the great Ajax team and his quality as a player.
And it’s worth a read.
In relation to Ajax, he says:
We didn’t have any money and we were bankrupt, so I had to look to youth. We scouted [Jari] Litmanen, a Finnish player, who we bought for £10,000. We also bought Finidi George. He was a Nigerian international. He was £3,000. I paid it by myself! And then, we bought Marc Overmars.
And he goes on to point out that he hasn’t always been an advocate of defensive football:
But the names that you do remember are [Clarance] Seedorf, [Patrick] Kluivert, [Michael] Reiziger. We won everything with very attacking football. I don’t say it too much because otherwise Mr Scholes will be very angry! [Laughs]
Scholes never pulled his punches on the field at Manchester United and his ruthless streak has continued in his blossoming career as a pundit.
And while many will agree with The Ginger Prince about Manchester United’s current trajectory, most United fans will continue to show patience with, and support for, a manager and man from the very top drawer.
But he admits that he wasn’t a top player:
I have played at the highest level in the Netherlands, until I was 32. But I was not a top player.
I know that when you analyse yourself, that you cannot be a top player. So, I knew in advance that I shall be maybe a very good trainer-coach.
He finished with a wonderful quote which reminds us all how long he has been in the game and how much things have changed in that time:
I’m from a time where you [the manager] did everything. Now I’m the manager and I have a sports science department, I have a scouting department, I have a medical department, I have assistant managers, I have assistant coaches.
I don’t do anything – nothing! I delegate. I delegate, and I earn a lot of money.
However well he does with this Manchester United team, we have a strong suspicion that Louis van Gaal will forever remain a hero amongst the Old Trafford faithful.