By Oladapo Okeowo
Ex-Manchester United and Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal has called time on a trophy-laden coaching career that spanned 26 years and four countries.
The Dutchman made the announcement on Monday after receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Dutch government for his contribution to football.
“I thought maybe I would stop, then I thought it would be a sabbatical, but now I do not think I will return to coaching,” Van Gaal was quoted as saying by a Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
He cited family issues for his decision, with the newspaper saying it was partly motivated by the sudden death of his daughter’s husband last month.
“So much has happened in my family. You become a human being again with your nose pressed to the facts,” he added.
van Gaal started his football career as a player, playing only in the Dutch League. He turned out for Ajax, Royal Antwerp, Telstar, Sparta Rotterdam and AZ from 1972 and 1987.
In 1991, he was made head coach at Ajax and went on to preside over a period of sustained success winning the Dutch league title on three occasions, the 1992 UEFA Cup and the 1995 Champions League title.
He followed this with two successive La Liga titles and the Copa del Rey as the coach of FC Barcelona.
He had his first stint as the coach of the Oranje right after this but was sacked after failing to qualify for the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan.
This was followed by an ill-fated Barcelona job that saw him leave after eight months and Barcelona facing relegation.
He returned to winning ways with AZ Alkmaar, winning the Dutch league title before moving to the Bundesliga, where he helped Bayern Munich to the Bundesliga title, DFB Pokal and almost did a treble but lost in the Champions League to a Diego Milito-inspired Inter Milan.
After this, he had his second stint as manager of Netherlands. He ensured quick qualification for the 2014 World Cup where they came third.
Louis resigned after this to take up the vacant managerial role at Manchester United. He finished fourth in his first season.
He, however, finished seventh in his second season, causing the club to let him go even though he won the FA Cup; the club’s first since 2004.