Louis van Gaal: Ex-Man Utd, Barcelona and Netherlands manager retires

Man Utd manager Louis van Gaal lifts the FA Cup trophy as former Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson looks on
Van Gaal lifts the FA Cup trophy in May 2016 - but was sacked just hours later

Ex-Manchester United and Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal says he has retired from coaching after a 26-year career.

Van Gaal, 65, has been out of work since being sacked by United hours after winning the FA Cup in May 2016.

"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 in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

Van Gaal also had spells in charge of Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AZ.

He made the announcement on Monday after receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Dutch government for his contribution to football.

Van Gaal's selected major honours
National titles: Ajax (1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96), Barcelona (1997-98, 1998-99), AZ Alkmaar (2008-09), Bayern Munich (2009-10)
Champions League: Ajax (1994-95)
Uefa Cup: Ajax (1991-92)
FA Cup: Manchester United (2015-16)

He cited family issues for his decision, with De Telegraaf 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.

The Dutchman also revealed he turned down lucrative offers to continue his coaching career in the Far East.

Van Gaal also said winning the FA Cup was the greatest achievement of his career as it came against the backdrop of his impending sacking: "I was standing on the gangplank for the last six months. My head was in the guillotine, put there by the English media.

"In those circumstances you have to try and stick to your vision and inspire the players of Manchester United."

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A long and successful career

Van Gaal played as a midfielder for Ajax, Royal Antwerp, Telstar, Sparta Rotterdam and AZ between 1972 and 1987 before moving into coaching, first as an assistant at AZ followed by the same role at Ajax.

He replaced Leo Beenhakker as Ajax head coach in 1991 and went on to preside over a period of sustained success, winning the Dutch league title on three occasions as well as the 1992 Uefa Cup and the 1995 Champions League title.

Van Gaal was asked to emulate that success at Spanish giants Barcelona. He inherited Bobby Robson's side in 1997 and led them to two successive La Liga titles and the Copa del Rey.

His country came calling in 2000, but his first stint in charge lasted less than two years when Netherlands failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, the first time they had missed the competition since 1986.

The Dutchman's second spell at Barcelona was even shorter - eight months - as he left midway through the season with the club hovering just above the relegation zone.

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He then guided AZ Alkmaar to the 2005-06 Eredivisie title before moving to the Bundesliga, where he helped Bayern Munich to the 2009-10 Bundesliga title.

The Dutch national side approached Van Gaal again in 2012 and this time the Netherlands became one of the first two European countries, along with Italy, to qualify for Brazil 2014, where they finished in third place.

After much speculation, he joined United in May 2014, signing a three-year contract to succeed David Moyes.

However, United replaced him with Jose Mourinho after just two years following a fifth-placed Premier League finish in the 2015-16 season, with a first FA Cup triumph since 2004 not sufficient to save him.

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