Tomorrow sees Argentina facing The Netherlands in the World Cup quarterfinals, and with it a bit of “getting the band back together” from mid 2010s Manchester United.
Dutch head coach Louis van Gaal managed United from 2014-2016, with Argentina attacking midfielder Angel Di Maria working under him for the 2014-15 season. United spent £59.7 million on signing him from Real Madrid, which was then a club record. That 14-15 season did not go well for Di Maria, as he just couldn’t get along with LVG.
He was sold to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2015 (more on this in a bit) for much less than United paid Madrid for him. Di Maria, who is injured and may not feature tomorrow, told TyC Sports: “My problem at Manchester was the coach. Van Gaal was the worst of my career.”
Van Gaal was asked about this at his pre-match press conference and his response led to a situation in which hilarity ensued.
“Angel di Maria is simply a really good football player,” The Iron Tulip responded.
“At the time in Manchester, he had a lot of personal issues — there was a break-in at his house — and that affected his fitness that year. So the fact that he’d refer to me as a worst trainer — that’s one of the few players who would say that — that’s sad, I don’t like it that he said it, it’s a pity, unfortunate. But that’s just the way it is — a head coach needs to take decisions that don’t always end well.”
Di Maria was considered an expensive flop at United, although the Argentine star did contribute a whole lot of assists during his time there. Also considered a flop at United, while working under Van Gaal, was the player sitting next to the Holland, manager, Memphis Depay.
Van Gaal signed the forward for United from PSV Eindhoven in 2015, as he was the Dutch top flight’s leading scorer the previous season. But he also had issues working with Van Gaal, and his form suffered, badly. Eventually Memphis left and turned his career around. He’s now tearing it up in Europe on the club level, and starting up top for the flying Dutchmen.
He definitely gets along with Van Gaal.
For proof, just watch the video on this below:
And of course, the transcription of that (just in case you can’t play a link with sound right now):
Van Gaal: “Memphis also played [in] Manchester — and now we kiss each other, mouth to mouth — we’re not going to do that now,” Van Gaal said, laughing.
“That’s how things pan out — in football, people are laughing now, but Memphis — I didn’t field Memphis for the final, that’s not nice — a head coach doesn’t do things without reason and it may well have been the wrong decision, but just look at how we deal with each other now!”
Louis van Gaal. Wow. This man is a trip. One of my all-time favorite moments covering the beautiful game, in person, with a credential, came in 2015, during Van Gaal’s time managing United. They played Paris Saint-Germain in a summer friendly in Chicago.
A reporter stated his name and affiliation, and the outlets was based in Kurdistan.
Van Gaal interrupted to say “he (Angel Di Maria, in the midst of transferring from LVG’s side to their opponents that night) is not going to Kurdistan.”
LOL! So funny! In a format that has long gotten stale, and repetitive, Van Gaal keeps it fresh.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”