Louis van Gaal responds to Angel Di Maria criticism.
Louis van Gaal was in typical form on Thursday, when asked about criticism from Argentina winger Angel Di Maria ahead of the pair’s reunion on Saturday.
The two men will be on opposite sides in the World Cup quarter-final, as Van Gaal pits his Netherlands side against Di Maria’s Argentina in Qatar.
Louis van Gaal and Angel Di Maria at Man United.
Van Gaal was manager of Manchester United when Di Maria joined the Red Devils in 2014, for what was then a British record fee of £59.7 million.
However, after a promising start, Di Maria’s form tailed off and he ended up being sold to Paris Saint-Germain the following summer.
He has since been highly-critical of the Dutch coach, saying last year that “Van Gaal was the worst [coach] of my career. I would score, assist, and the next day he would show me my misplaced passes. He displaced me from one day to the other, he didn’t like players being more than him.”
QUARTER-FINAL VIBES! 😍🎉
Wait for the coach! 😆🧡#NothingLikeOranje #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/GY2vFLxLnU
— OnsOranje (@OnsOranje) December 3, 2022
Kisses with Memphis Depay.
Memphis Depay was sitting alongside Van Gaal when Di Maria’s comments were put to him on Thursday, and the manager ended up citing the Netherlands forward as an example of a former Manchester United player with whom he gets along.
Depay arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2015, just as Di Maria was heading through the exit door, and the now-Barcelona star appeared suitably embarrassed at Van Gaal’s bizarre defence.
“Di Maria calling me the worst manager he has ever had? He’s one of the few players with this opinion,” said the coach.
“I’m really sorry about this and I find it sad he said this. Memphis had to deal with it too in Manchester, and now we kiss each other on the mouth.
“That kiss on the mouth.. he [Memphis] doesn’t want it, but this is fine.”
😘 Louis van Gaal maakt na Denzel Dumfries nu ook avances richting Memphis Depay.
"En nu zoenen we elkaar op de mond" pic.twitter.com/aPL4nzNR6l
— ESPN NL (@ESPNnl) December 8, 2022
Naturally, Memphis proceeds to bang the table with laughter, as the whole room of journalists join him in falling into hysterics.
If Di Maria was in any doubt of how much his old manager values his opinion, then he’s sure to know the answer by now.
The 71-year-old Van Gaal has been a jovial presence at this World Cup, regularly teasing journalists and players alike, while joining in the celebratory dancing back at the team hotel.
It was Denzel Dumfries who was on the receiving end of his manager’s japes last week, when Van Gaal planted a kiss on the full-back’s cheek at a packed press conference.
Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal kisses defender Denzel Dumfries to show his appreciation 🇳🇱 pic.twitter.com/omTxzQBNDU
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) December 3, 2022
Netherlands in positive mood.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that Van Gaal had received successful treatment for prostate cancer, and he certainly seems to be making the most of this second chance at winning a World Cup, after he led the Netherlands to the semi-final in Brazil earlier in his career.
His mood seems to be rubbing off on his players as well, and that can only benefit them as they head into Saturday’s crunch meeting with Lionel Messi and co.
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