Louis van Gaal: Manchester United send ‘strength and courage’ to former manager after he reveals cancer battle

The world of football has come together to offer strength and support to former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, who has revealed that he is battling cancer.

The current Netherlands head coach, 70, announced on Dutch TV programme Humberto on Sunday evening that he had been receiving treatment for an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

Van Gaal said he had not made his players aware of his condition.

“I think you don’t tell people you work with like that because it might influence their choices, their decisiveness, so I thought they shouldn’t know,’ he said. “You don’t die from prostate cancer, at least not in 90 per cent of the cases.

“It is usually other underlying diseases that kill you. But I had a pretty aggressive form, got irradiated 25 times. Then you have a lot of management to do in order to get through life.”

Van Gaal’s announcement has prompted an outpouring of support from former clubs, players and team-mates, with Manchester United tweeting: “Everybody at Manchester United is fully behind our former manager, Louis van Gaal, in his battle against cancer. Sending you strength and courage, Louis.”

Barcelona said: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to former Barça manager Louis van Gaal, who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Stay strong, Louis, and get well soon.”

Uefa tweeted: “On behalf of the European football community, we send our very best wishes to Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal, who has announced he is battling prostate cancer. We’re all with you, Louis.”

Gary Lineker added: “Sending best wishes and hopes for a full recovery to Louis Van Gaal, who announced on Dutch television tonight that he’s battling prostate cancer.”

Van Gaal is one of European football’s most experienced coaches, having won a plethora of major honours including domestic trophies in his native Netherlands, Germany, Spain and England.

His haul of silverware includes the FA Cup with Manchester United in 2016, two LaLiga titles at Barcelona, four Eredivisie crowns with Ajax and AZ Alkmaar, one Bundesliga championship at Bayern Munich and the Champions League, which he won with Ajax back in 1995.

He has also had three separate spells in charge of the Dutch national team, leading them to a third-place finish at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Van Gaal still looks set to lead the Oranje at this year’s inaugural winter tournament in Qatar, where his side have been placed in Group A alongside the hosts, Senegal and Ecuador.

He had already confirmed that he would be stepping down from his role after the tournament, with Ronald Koeman expected to embark upon his second stint at the helm.

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