A somber After the Netherlands were defeated by Argentina in the World Cup quarterfinals, Louis van Gaal responded to a few questions, got up from the podium, and made a timid exit on the left.
His turbulent career came to an end at the tournament in Qatar.
The Netherlands’ loss in the penalty shootout marked the end of the 71-year-third old’s coaching stint, and Ronald Koeman will take over in his place.
The 71-year-old has been battling cancer for the past year.
“In principle this is it for me,” said Van Gaal earlier in the tournament, “but you can never say never”.
He had come out of retirement when Frank de Boer, who had been in command of the Netherlands for the third time, was dismissed after the Netherlands were eliminated by the Czech Republic in the round of 16 in the European Championship.
After the Netherlands were disqualified from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Van Gaal took over in September of last year and guided them to World Cup qualification.
Along with hosting the finals against Croatia, Italy, and Spain in June, they also won their Nations League group.
Van Gaal was the Dutch team’s coach when they lost to Argentina on post-game penalties in the 2014 World Cup finals.
The Champions League triumph with Ajax Amsterdam, two LaLiga titles at Barcelona, the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, and a poor stint at Manchester United—although they did win the FA Cup in 2016—proved to be the career’s high point.
All of this was distinguished by a reputation for meticulous preparation and attention to detail but also a single-minded belief in his own talent that garnered him many lovers and adversaries in equal measure.
His conflicts with the media were numerous, and one writer even wrote a book on his numerous interactions with Van Gaal.
After concealing his aggressive form of prostate cancer diagnosis from his team throughout the World Cup qualifying matches, the coach admitted in April that he had undergone 25 radiation treatments for the disease.
They were not aware that Van Gaal spent the nights in the hospital following games or that he had a catheter under his tracksuit during training sessions.
Additionally, he stated that any future employment would be subject to Truus, his wife, to whom he had twice previously broken his vow to enter retirement.
Koeman, 59, will take over after agreeing to a three-year contract in April to return as manager of the Netherlands starting in 2023.
In 2019, Koeman guided his nation to runners-up in the Nations League and qualification for Euro 2020 before leaving the position when Barcelona offered him the chance to lead them in August 2020.
This will be Koeman’s second stint as national team manager. He was let go by the Catalan club after just 14 months.
“I am looking forward to the new collaboration.
“I certainly did not leave the Dutch national team out of dissatisfaction,” Koeman said when he signed the contract.
“My stay felt good, the results were good and the click with the internationals was good.
“We will soon continue on that path. That is certain for me.”