Qatar World Cup

December 9, 2022

Netherlands vs Argentina: Van Gaal replies to Di Maria ‘worst ever coach’ remark

Netherlands vs Argentina: Van Gaal replies to Di Maria ‘worst ever coach’ remark
By Efosa Taiwo

Netherlands manager Louis Van Gaal has taken a swipe at Juventus winger, Angel Di Maria after the Argentine claimed the Dutch manager is the “worst coach” he ever worked with.

Di Maria played under Van Gaal at Manchester United in the 2014/15 season and would go on to endure a torrid season that saw him exit Old Trafford unceremoniously.

The former Real Madrid winger will later grant an interview in 2019 to a televison channel where he ascribed his struggles at Manchester United to Van Gaal, describing him as the worst coach he ever worked with.

Responding to the Argentine’s claim, the Dutch manager said he felt sad Di Maria had to say such, refuting the validity of his remark.

The 71-year-old, who is expected to retire from coaching after the World Cup in Qatar, drew comparison of Di Maria’s situation at the club then to that of Memphis Depay who also had a difficul time at the club, saying jocularly that the latter and him “now kiss each other on the mouth.”

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“Angel Di Maria is a very good footballer who, when he played at Manchester (United), had a lot of problems in his private life, including having his house broken into. That influenced his form in that year,” Van Gaal said.

“Calling me the worst coach? He’s one of very few players who’ve said that. I’m really sorry about this and I find it sad he said this. Mostly it is the opposite.

“Memphis had to deal with it too at Man United. And now we kiss each other on the mouth,” Van Gaal observed, turning to his embarrassed striker seated beside him at the press conference.

Di Maria is set square up against his former manager when Argentina face Netherlands on Friday for a place in the Semi-final of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.