Louis van Gaal's football boots sparkle a little.
“This is a brand new couple.
I had thrown away my old ones long ago, ”says the 70-year-old.
Because actually van Gaal had said goodbye to the world of professional football in 2016.
The end at Manchester United was unpleasant.
The success failed to materialize, behind the scenes José Mourinho was already signed as his successor - Van Gaal withdrew tired and hurt to his adopted home in Portugal.
But five years later he's back. As bond coach for the Dutch national team, he stands on the training ground in the association center in Zeist and watches the players of the Oranje team. Van Gaal for the third, it is said in the Netherlands. “Here I am again,” headlined the “AD” on Tuesday next to a large photo of van Gaal. After the disappointing round of 16 at the European Championship and the resignation of Frank de Boer, the former Bayern coach should now judge it again and lead the Elftal to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“Who else is supposed to do it?” Asked van Gaal at his official introduction a few weeks ago.
From 2000 to 2002 van Gaal was responsible for the Oranje team for the first time, at the time when he embarrassingly missed participation in the World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
Ten years later, van Gaal began his second term as bond coach and led the team in 2014 in Brazil in third place.
"This is important for us"
And what's next? “Work,” replies van Gaal to this question. The coach likes to describe himself as a process trainer, but now he is taking over the Elftal in an ongoing process. Because the qualification for the World Cup next year has already begun and the Netherlands have got off to a mixed start. At the beginning there was a bitter defeat in Turkey, followed by compulsory victories over Latvia and Gibraltar.
Before the duel in Norway with Dortmund's star striker Erling Haaland this Wednesday (8.45 p.m. at DAZN), van Gaal and the Oranje team are already under pressure.
That's why the veteran trainer leaves nothing to chance.
In Danny Blind, Henk Fraser and Frans Hoek he has gathered old confidants in his supervisory staff.
As early as Sunday morning, he began preparing for the international block in Zeist, which also includes the games against Montenegro on Saturday and Turkey on Tuesday.
In these three matches, van Gaal wants to lay the foundation for his second World Cup participation.
Because even if he had already finished playing football five years ago, the comeback has rekindled his ambition.
He wanted to become world champion, van Gaal announced confidently as usual at his presentation.
Virgil van Dijk will again help to get the ticket for Qatar. The defense chief of Liverpool FC missed the European Championship due to a torn cruciate ligament, and now he's fit again. "That is important for us," said Georginio Wijnaldum, who represented van Dijk as captain at the disappointing European Championship. "We want to forget the EM and definitely go to Qatar," said the 30-year-old midfielder.Keywords: