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, Manchester United FC
• 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. Van Gaal's men then impressed in Brazil, just missing out on a place in the final after losing to Argentina on penalties, before finishing on the podium by downing the hosts in the third-place play-off match.
• Agreeing to become Manchester United's new manager before Brazil 2014, he brought the Red Devils back into the limelight after their difficult first season following Sir Alex Ferguson's departure. The Old Trafford outfit took fourth spot in the Premier League and returned to the UEFA Champions League via the play-offs, cruising past Club Brugge.
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