Louis van Gaal's most iconic moments at Ajax, Barcelona, Netherlands and more

Louis van Gaal is one of the most decorated managers in history and has come out of retirement to do a third stint as manager of the Netherlands. He has managed Ajax and Barcelona winning 20 trophies.

For the third time in his managerial career, Louis van Gaal has been appointed as the new Netherlands manager. The "Iron Tulip" is one of the most decorated managers in history, having won 20 major honours during his 30-year managerial career.

His most successful time was his first stint as Ajax manager, during which he won 11 trophies in seven years.

In honour of his most recent appointment, Planet Sport takes a look at Van Gaal's most iconic moments.

Three straight Eredivisie titles

Van Gaal's managerial career couldn't have got off to a better start, winning 11 trophies in just seven years in one of Ajax's most profitable spells. At Van Gaal's disposal was some of Ajax's most talented players including household names like Dennis Bergkamp Edgar Davids and Clarence Seedorf. All three were products of Ajax's famous youth system.

He led the team to three straight league titles in 1993/94, 1994/95 and 1995/96. In the 1994/95 season, Ajax famously went through the season undefeated, scoring 106 goals en route to winning their 25th Eredivisie title.

The unbeaten year of 1995

During 1995, Ajax played 48 games in the league and in Europe and remained unbeaten throughout. In turn, they finished the Eredivisie season as 'Super Invincibles'. This was in addition to winning their fourth Champions League crown, their first in 22 years.

Winning both the Eredivisie and Champions League while also remaining unbeaten is a feat that has only been achieved by Van Gaal's side. This was the second time that Ajax had finished a league season undefeated, the first being in 1918/19. No other Dutch side has finished a league season undefeated.

World Soccer Manager of the Year

After a scintillating 1995, Van Gaal was named World Soccer Manager of the Year by World Soccer magazine, picking up 42% of the vote. The Ajax team was also named Team of the Year by the same publication.

In 1995 Van Gaal was also awarded the Onze d'Or Coach of the Year, the European Coach of the Year (Sepp Herberger Award) and European Coach of the Season. Not a bad return in just his fourth year of management.

Back-to-back La Ligas

After his contract with Ajax expired, Van Gaal was named as Bobby Robson's replacement as manager of Barcelona. He was only in Catalonia for three years, largely due to clashes with the media as well as cultural issues. Despite this, Van Gaal was very successful and led Barcelona to back-to-back league titles in 1997/98 and 1998/99.

During his brief stay in Barcelona, he signed three Ajax youth system products, Patrick Kluivert, and Frank and Ronald de Boer. All three went on to have profitable careers in Catalonia, particularly Kluivert, who scored over 120 goals for Barcelona.

Winning AZ Alkmaar their second Eredivisie

After spending a year away from management as a technical director at Ajax, Van Gaal was appointed manager of AZ Alkmaar, the club where he ended his playing career. His tenure started in July 2005.

In his first two seasons as manager, he guided the team to second and third respectively. They disappointed next time out though, finishing 11th, with Van Gaal subsequently announcing his retirement. He changed his mind though when some of the players urged him to stay. He decided he would give the players one more season to prove themselves.

AZ Alkmaar entered the 2008/09 season predicted to finish as low as 13th. However, thanks to the best defensive record in the league and the second best offensive record, they won only their second-ever Eredivisie. During the campaign, AZ went on a 28-game unbeaten run, surpassing their previous best of 25 unbeaten set in 1980/81.

The first Dutch manager to win the Bundesliga

The season after winning the Eredivisie, Van Gaal was on the move again, this time to Germany. He was named as the manager of Bayern Munich, which he described as a "dream club". In his first season in Germany, he won the league and cup double, becoming the first Dutch manager to win the Bundesliga in the process. It was Bayern's 21st league title.

Dutch Lifetime Achievement award

In 2017, Van Gaal was honoured for his services to soccer by the Dutch Government, being awarded the Dutch Lifetime Achievement Award. After winning the gong, he announced that he would be retiring from management, ending an illustrious managerial career.

Fall on the sideline as Manchester United manager

It seems wrong to do a piece on Van Gaal's most iconic moments and not reference his most infamous moment in England. In 2016, Manchester United were playing league rivals Arsenal and after the Gunners player Alexis Sanchez won a penalty, Van Gaal recreated Sanchez's alleged dive on the touchline in front of referee Mike Dean.

Describing it does not give the moment any justice, so here is a video of one of the infamous moments in Premier League history.

Van Gaal is now turning his attention to the Netherlands national side. His team are well priced to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

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