Louis van Gaal: Netherlands coach reveals cancer diagnosis

Former Barcelona and Manchester United manager, who began treatment in 2020, still plans to lead Dutch national team at 2022 World Cup

Louis van Gaal has insisted he plans to lead the Netherlands to the 2022 World Cup having come out publicly about his cancer diagnosis. AFP
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Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal has said he has prostate cancer and has been receiving treatment, but still plans to lead his team at the World Cup in Qatar in seven months' time.

The 70-year-old Dutchman told RTL television on Sunday that the players "don't know it", adding he has undergone 25 bouts of radiotherapy, including during training camps with the Dutch team.

The players "think I'm in good health, but I'm not", said the former Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Ajax manager, who began treatment last year after his diagnosis in 2020.

"It's part of my life," he added in an interview marking the upcoming release of a film about his life, entitled LOUIS. "I've been through so much in my life, sickness and death, I've probably become richer as a person because of all those experiences."

Van Gaal is in his third term as head coach of the Dutch national side, who were placed in Group A for the 2022 World Cup alongside hosts Qatar, Ecuador and Senegal in Friday's draw.

United, where he was in charge in 2014-2016, were among those wishing the Dutchman a speedy recovery.

"Everybody at Manchester United is fully behind our former manager, Louis van Gaal, in his battle against cancer. Sending you strength and courage, Louis," the Premier League club tweeted.

Barcelona, where he was twice manager and twice won the Spanish league, tweeted: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to former Barca manager Louis van Gaal... Stay strong, Louis, and get well soon."

Van Gaal returned to the Dutch national team after the resignation of Frank de Boer in the aftermath of the country's dismal last-16 exit from Euro 2020.

The no-nonsense Van Gaal managed the Oranje between 2000-2002 and 2012-2014, when they finished third at the World Cup in Brazil.

During Van Gaal's first spell as manager the Dutch failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. He then went on to take up the managerial position with Manchester United, but was sacked by the club two days after winning the FA Cup in 2016.

At Barcelona, from 1997-2000, he won two La Liga titles. He returned to the Spanish giants in 2002 but an unsuccessful stay saw him quit early the following year.

He was also in charge at Bayern Munich from 2009-2011.

"We do not die of prostate cancer, in most cases. Most often, these are underlying diseases that can be fatal in this form of cancer," said Van Gaal.

Updated: April 04, 2022, 8:02 AM