Ajax announce Van Gaal return

Under fire Bayern Munich boss Louis van Gaal prepares to watch his team take on Inter.
Image: Louis van Gaal: Heading back to Ajax where he will need to build bridges with Johan Cruyff

Louis van Gaal is to return to Ajax as general manager in 2012, but the club's announcement has provoked an angry response from Johan Cruyff.

Former coach to fill general manager role in 2012

Louis van Gaal is to return to Ajax as general manager in 2012, but the club's announcement has provoked an angry response from Johan Cruyff. Van Gaal previously coached the Dutch giants between 1991 and 1997, leading them UEFA Champions League glory in 1995, and held a sporting director role from 2003 to 2004. It has been confirmed that he will head back to Amsterdam next year to work alongside sporting director Danny Blind and commercial director Martin Sturkenboom. Van Gaal is still held in high regard by Ajax and their followers, but one former favourite has expressed his disappointment at the news of his imminent arrival. Cruyff, who has never hid his dislike of his fellow countryman, said: "They've gone mad."

Rivalries

While frustrated to hear of the news, Cruyff, who had wanted Marco van Basten to take the role, insists he will not be stepping down from his post on the club's five-man board. Van Gaal cannot fill his new role until next year as he remains on the payroll of former employers Bayern Munich and will not be freed from those ties until July. He claimed recently that he would never return to Ajax 'as long as Cruyff is at the club', but the Eredivisie outfit are delighted to have seen him relax that stance. "Van Gaal's arrival is in the interest of the club," said Steven ten Have, president of the club's advisory board. "If he and Cruyff work together for Ajax, they may be able to look beyond certain rivalries."

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