Louis van Gaal has revealed that he has an aggressive form of prostate cancer in an interview with Dutch television.
Van Gaal is one of the most influential coaches of all time, previously taking charge of Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United. He is currently in his third spell as Netherlands head coach and opted to not share the news with the squad before now.
During the interview, Van Gaal was promoting the film Louis which comes out in cinemas later this month.
“You say in that film that you had or have prostate cancer,” presenter Humberto Tan said, with Van replying ‘have’.
He continued: “[Director] Geertjan Lassche not only films the coach, but also the person behind the coach. Then you have the choice: do you show it or not?
“I think that’s part of life. I’ve been through so much in my life with death, in my family, with my wife. I have probably become richer in my life as a human being because of all those experiences. I thought that should also be in the film.”
Van Gaal also went on to praise the treatment he has received, explaining how he would visit the hospital in the evening when training the national team.
“I had a great treatment. You also say it to friends and relatives, but that also says something about my family, that they keep that a secret. During my periods as national coach, I went to the hospital every night at night, without the players knowing,” he said.
“Look, prostate cancer doesn’t kill you. It is usually the underlying diseases that you die from. But it is an aggressive form.
“I’ve been irradiated 25 times – then you need a lot of management to get through life. But I have an incredible amount of willpower to keep going. This group of players is a gift at a later age.”
Following his two previous spell with the Oranje, Van Gaal took over from Frank de Boer in August 2021. Since then, he has guided them to World Cup qualification and they have been placed into Group A for the showpiece event in Qatar, alongside the hosts, Ecuador and Senegal.