Date of birth: August 8 1951
Playing career: AFC Ajax, R. Antwerp FC, Stormvogels Telstar, Sparta Rotterdam, AZ Alkmaar
Coaching career: AFC Ajax, FC Barcelona (twice), Netherlands, AZ Alkmaar, FC Bayern München
• Having never made it beyond the reserve team at his first club, Ajax, Van Gaal spent most of his playing career as a Sparta midfielder, retiring in 1987 after a season with AZ, where he started his coaching career as an assistant.
• Took on a similar coaching role at hometown club Ajax, under Leo Beenhakker, from 1988 to 1991 before moving up to the top job on his mentor's departure.
• Had six glorious years at Ajax, winning three Eredivisie titles, 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. Was awarded an Order of the Oranje-Nassau in 1997 and made a knight.
• Moved to Spain the same year for a three-season stint at Barcelona, winning two Liga titles and a Copa del Rey. Became Netherlands coach in 2000 in an unsuccessful bid to qualify the Oranje 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 title since 1981 in April 2009. Appointed coach of Bayern a month later, as a replacement for caretaker Jupp Heynckes, and became the first Dutch coach to win the Bundesliga in his first season, also adding the German Cup and reaching the UEFA Champions League final.
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