Date of birth: 8 August 1951
Playing career: AFC Ajax, R. Antwerp FC, Stormvogels Telstar, Sparta Rotterdam, AZ Alkmaar
Coaching career: AFC Ajax, FC Barcelona (twice), Netherlands (twice), AZ Alkmaar, FC Bayern München
• Van Gaal spent most of his playing days as a Sparta midfielder, retiring in 1987 after a season with AZ, where he started his coaching career as an assistant. Then assisted Leo Beenhakker at Ajax from 1988 to 1991, taking the top job upon his mentor's departure.
• Had six glorious years at Ajax, winning three Eredivisie crowns, a Dutch Cup, the 1992 UEFA Cup and the 1995 UEFA Champions League; defended that title in 1996 all the way to a penalty shoot-out defeat by Juventus in the final.
• Moved to Spain the same year for a three-season stint at Barcelona, lifting two Liga titles and a Copa del Rey. Became Netherlands coach in 2000 in an unsuccessful bid to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Returned briefly to Barça before a spell out of coaching.
• Took over at Alkmaar in 2005, steering them to their first Eredivisie championship since 1981 in April 2009. Named Bayern boss a month later, he became the first Dutch coach to win the Bundesliga in his first term, also adding the German Cup and reaching the UEFA Champions League final.
• Assuming the Netherlands helm for a second time in July 2012, his side stormed through 2014 World Cup qualifying unbeaten, with nine victories and a draw, and the best goal difference in the European competition: +29.
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