Football

Van Gaal to retire

Louis van Gaal has announced his retirement from professional football after more than three decades, citing "family reasons," a Dutch newspaper reported yesterday.

"I don't believe I'll return back to work," van Gaal told Dutch tabloid De Telegraaf after receiving a lifetime achievement award in The Hague on Monday.

The man nicknamed the "Iron Tulip" has received dozens of lucrative offers since his unceremonial axing from Manchester United last year, including a three-year contract in the East, most likely China, which would pay an estimated 50 million euros (S$75.8m) over three years, the paper said.

"I could have taken the contract," van Gaal told the paper.

"But I'm still here. So much has happened within my family and it is time to face facts."

Flamboyant and outspoken, van Gaal, 65, found himself in the midst of a family drama after the husband of one of his daughters unexpectedly passed away, De Telegraaf said.

Despite winning the FA Cup last year - United's first major silverware since the retirement of legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson - van Gaal was given the boot in May and was replaced by Jose Mourinho.

He said then he was contemplating taking another manager's job.

"I said I would stop, but then cleverly called it a 'sabbatical'," said van Gaal.

"But now, I don't believe I'll return to work."

"Actually, I wanted to stop after the 2014 World Cup," added van Gaal, whose Dutch side finished third behind Argentina and Germany in Brazil.

"Then suddenly England called.

"It was a beautiful country I did not yet have on my CV."

Winning the FA Cup with the Red Devils "was the greatest achievement of my career", he added.

Asked whether he has realised all his dreams, he said: "I have achieved everything during my lifetime.

"I don't want to brag about all the countries where I've worked, and the level of clubs I've coached but, for me, there's really nothing else left (to do)." - AFP

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