Former FC Barcelona manager, Louis Van Gaal, was appointed head coach of the Netherlands national team this past week. Van Gaal held this position before, between 2000 and 2002, when he took over from Frank Rijkaard, who resigned when the Dutch failed to reach the final of the 2000 Eurocup, despite playing great football.
In his second spell, Van Gaal’s main task will be to qualify for the next World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
After the Oranje‘s failure in this year’s Eurocup to emerge from the group stages, Van Gaal is taking over the team once more. As FIFA reports, his first period as manager of the Oranje ended with his resignation in 2001 when the Netherlands failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan.
Van Gaal’s most recent coaching job was in charge of German football giants Bayern Munich, where he was manager from 2009-2011.
“We were looking for a trainer with a wealth of experience, with personal and technical expertise,” said KNVB director Bert van Oostveen. “Van Gaal earned his spurs not only nationally, but internationally as well and we know him as a dedicated and highly driven coach,” Oostveen added.
Reacting to his appointment, Van Gaal expressed his joy about being approached by the KNVB: “It’s the challenge I have been waiting for.”
Louis Van Gaal was Barça’s coach between 1997 and 2000, and then came back to the Club in 2002. In his first period in charge of the blaugrana, he won 2 League titles, 1 Copa del Rey, and 1 Spain Super Cup. In 2002, he had bad luck, in what was one of the worst seasons in Barça’s history. Despite that, his biggest contribution to the club was promoting young players such as Xavi, Carles Puyol and Gabri in his first stage, then Víctor Valdés, Andrés Iniesta and several others during his second spell in charge. His dream was to have a Barça side with 11 home grown players.
His proximity to Barça’s cantera can be seen in the following video, where he is sharing a table with a very young Jordi Alba. In the video, he asks Jordi about his position on the field!
Good luck to him, as the Netherlands certainly deserves a place among the world’s best national teams. Let’s hope his second period with the Dutch team is more successful than his second stage at Barça. . . .
Image: CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images