• News

Ex-Barcelona and Manchester United boss reveals he has cancer

Louis van Gaal
Getty Images

During an interview on Dutch TV, Louis van Gaal announced his diagnosis ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal is receiving treatment for prostate cancer.

The 70-year-old former Manchester United and Barcelona coach made the announcement on Dutch TV program Humberto on Sunday.

He had kept the news from his players during the recent international break but declared he plans to carry on in his role ahead of the World Cup.

“I have now had four periods as national coach. I went to the hospital in the evening or at night every period. Without the players knowing,” Van Gaal said.

“They still see those ruddy cheeks of mine, and think ‘What a healthy pear that is.’ Well, of course, I am not. I don’t think you tell the people you work with like that, because that might influence their choices or decisiveness or whatever. I thought they shouldn’t know.

“Look, you don’t [die from] prostate cancer, at least about 90%. It is usually the underlying diseases that kill you. I did have an aggressive form. I have been irradiated 25 times. Then you have a lot of management to do, and then go through life.”

Van Gaal, whose treatment began in 2021, is in his third spell as Netherlands coach. The Dutchman has led the national team to this year’s World Cup. They’ll face hosts Qatar, African champions Senegal, and South American side Ecuador in Group A of the tournament.

The coach has won league titles with Barcelona, Ajax, Bayern Munich, and AZ Alkmaar in a career that has spanned almost four decades.

He also led Manchester United to FA Cup glory in 2016 during a two-season spell at Old Trafford.