Career Highs and Lows of New Manchester United Manager Louis van Gaal

Ian RodgersChief Writer IVApril 10, 2017

Career Highs and Lows of New Manchester United Manager Louis van Gaal

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    Peter Dejong/Associated Press

    The worst-kept secret in world football has been confirmed with the appointment of Louis van Gaal as Manchester United manager, the club has confirmed on its official Twitter feed.

    The Old Trafford club are now set for a period of change as the Dutchman overhauls his squad in preparation for the new Premier League season.

    The charge regularly aimed at David Moyes during his disappointing time as manager of the club was that he had not won a trophy with Everton in his previous role.

    However, that could certainly not be a criticism aimed at Van Gaal, who has a strong record in claiming silverware, particularly in his debut campaigns with new clubs.

    Let's take a look at his career highs and lows across Europe.

Ajax, 1991-97

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    Louis van Gaal had worked as an assistant manager to Leo Beenhakker until 1991 when he succeeded his mentor at Ajax.

    The new Manchester United boss was unable to prise the Eredivisie title from PSV Eindhoven, and Ajax finished second in the table.

    But it was a different story in European competition, with the Amsterdam giants defeating Osasuna, Gent and Genoa on their way to the UEFA Cup final.

    Torino stood in the way of a first trophy for Van Gaal, but his Ajax team held out for a 0-0 draw at home in the second leg to win the trophy on away goals after a 2-2 draw in Italy in the first game.

    Van Gaal went on to win the KNVB Cup the following season before claiming the Dutch title for three successive seasons between 1994 and 1996.

    There was also the small matter of a Champions League final triumph over AC Milan in Vienna courtesy of Patrick Kluivert's 85th-minute strike in a 1-0 win, and the subsequent UEFA Super Cup win over Real Zaragoza.

Barcelona, 1997-2000

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    When the late Sir Bobby Robson was moved upstairs by Barcelona in the summer of 1997, there was only one name on the minds of those at the club to replace the former England manager.

    Van Gaal joined the Camp Nou club, and his impact was felt immediately as the La Liga giants gathered silverware across the board in his first season in charge.

    The UEFA Super Cup was the first point of call as his European Cup Winners' Cup holders beat Champions League victors Borussia Dortmund in the final.

    But the trophy haul did not end there; the Spanish title was won with a nine-point advantage over second-placed Athletic Bilbao.

    The Copa del Rey was sealed with a penalty shoot-out victory over a resilient Mallorca, who had been down to nine men during extra-time after the dismissals of Oscar Mena and Enrique Romero in the closing stages of the 90 minutes.

    Van Gaal would go on to claim a second successive league title the following season, but he left the Camp Nou in 2000 after failing to add to that early silverware haul.

Holland Stint and Return to Barcelona, Could Not Repeat Previous Success

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    Van Gaal left Barcelona in May 2000 and moved into the Netherlands hot seat for the first time.

    But his time in charge of the national team was unsuccessful, with Holland missing out on qualification for the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea.

    The new Old Trafford boss stepped down in January 2002 and returned to Barcelona in the summer.

    However, results were poor in his second stint in charge, and he left the Camp Nou in January 2003 with Barcelona 20 points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad, as BBC Sport reported.

    A short-term stint as Ajax technical director followed, but the role ended shortly afterward.

AZ Alkmaar, 2005-09

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    Any thoughts that Van Gaal had lost his Midas touch were soon dismissed when AZ Alkmaar came calling for his services in July 2005.

    The Dutchman took the unfancied team to second place in the Eredivisie table behind champions PSV in his first season before finishing runners-up in the KNVB Cup the following season.

    There might not have been much in the way of silverware, but it would only be a matter of time before Van Gaal was lifting a trophy again.

    And, after 10 barren years, the Dutchman guided AZ to the Dutch championship in 2008-09 with the help of a run of 28 league games without defeat.

Bayern Munich, 2009-11

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    Van Gaal left AZ for Bayern Munich in the summer of 2009, and any critics still doubting his ability to win trophies were soon left trailing in his wake.

    His first move after replacing Jurgen Klinsmann was to bring Arjen Robben to the Allianz Arena, a transfer which was to pay dividends for Van Gaal and the German club.

    Bayern wrested the Bundesliga title from Wolfsburg with a five-point advantage over second-placed Schalke.

    Van Gaal also added the German Cup to the Bayern trophy cabinet with a comfortable 4-0 win over Werder Bremen in which Robben opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

    The Dutchman missed out on a potential Treble in that same season when Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan defeated Bayern 2-0 in the Champions League final in Madrid.

    But Van Gaal was released from his Bayern contract less than a year later with the German club struggling to get close to the triumphs of his first season in charge, as The Guardian reported.

Holland 2012-14, Manchester United 2014-?

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    Van Gaal was tasked with restoring Holland as a major force in world and European football after a dismal Euro 2012 campaign under Bert van Marwijk.

    The Netherlands had failed to qualify for the knockout stages in Poland and Ukraine under Van Maarwijk after reaching the World Cup final two years earlier.

    The Dutch national team has not disappointed under Van Gaal, comfortably winning their qualification group for the 2014 World Cup finals with nine wins and one draw from their matches.

    And now Van Gaal faces another challenge of reclaiming the footballing high ground at Manchester United.

    The Red Devils can win three trophies next season, the Premier League, the FA Cup and the League Cup. Can Van Gaal revive United with at least one? Time will tell.