On Soccer: Manchester United Jettisons Louis van Gaal, ‘the Best Coach in the World’


Louis van Gaal last week. Two years ago, he was seen as Manchester United’s stabilizer, but in his tenure, the team was unattractive and unimaginative.

Carl Recine/Reuters

It was not even two years ago that Louis van Gaal was being hailed as a genius. In the crucible of a World Cup quarterfinal, van Gaal, then coaching the Netherlands, substituted his starting goalkeeper in the final minutes of extra time and then — with a grin on his face — watched the backup make two critical saves in the subsequent penalty-kick shootout as his team advanced to a semifinal against Argentina.

Never shy — van Gaal once declared, “Congratulations on signing the best coach in the world” after he was hired by the Dutch club Ajax — he reveled in the global acclaim he received in Brazil, showing his playful side (and his ego) in a series of entertaining interviews. It was expected that van Gaal’s magic that summer would follow him to his next job, as coach of Manchester United.

It did not. Van Gaal was fired on Monday, two days after winning his only trophy with the club…

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