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Louis van Gaal's bust-ups: Victor Valdes latest to clash with Manchester United boss

Louis van Gaal fall-outs

As Louis van Gaal slams Victor Valdes' attitude, we look at other fall-outs the Dutch boss has had with his players...

Victor Valdes appears to be the latest victim of Louis van Gaal’s wrath.

The former Barcelona ‘keeper was left at home as Manchester United jetted to the United States for their pre-season tour and on Wednesday Van Gaal explained why.

"He is not selected because he doesn't follow our philosophy and there is no place for that one player," said the United boss. "Philosophy is how you play football and how you maintain your match rhythm. For example, he refused last year to play in the second team."

Valdes seemed less than impressed with that statement, posting a picture of him with the U21 squad on Twitter on Thursday morning, however the Spanish shot-stopper’s Old Trafford future now seems in doubt.

It’s not the first time Van Gaal has fallen out with a big-name player, though. Here we look back at four other footballers who got on the wrong side of the Dutchman…


Image: Rivaldo was released when Van Gaal returned to Barcelona in 2002

It’s fair to say that after helping Barcelona to back-to-back La Liga titles and winning the Ballon d'Or, Rivaldo was the star man at the Nou Camp in 1999 – but when he requested a new role in the Barca attack, Van Gaal reacted angrily. The Brazilian was dropped from the side and when he returned was far less effective than he had been previously.

The fallout contributed to Van Gaal’s spat with the Catalan press – who sided with Rivaldo – and the manager left at the end of the season after losing the La Liga crown to Deportivo de La Coruna. Van Gaal resumed the ruckus when he returned to Barcelona in 2002, releasing Rivaldo from his contract.   

"I don’t like Van Gaal and he doesn’t like me," said Rivaldo – who went on to win the Champions League with AC Milan in 2002/2003.

However, Van Gaal hit back: "That’s not true, I really like Rivaldo. I like the Rivaldo from before he won the Ballon d’Or in 1999. I loved that Rivaldo. I liked him a lot, because he was the best.

"But from that moment onwards, he couldn’t handle the new situation, neither in the personal nor sporting sense. With the other Barcelona coaches, Rivaldo’s level and his performances for the club also dropped. You can see that looking at the stats.

"I used to like the Rivaldo that had enthusiasm and commitment. He has shown he doesn’t have any commitment for Barcelona. His level drops more with Barcelona than Brazil. When I saw Rivaldo with Brazil, I saw an enthusiastic player, hungry to work for the team and, on top of that, committed. That’s the difference."

Mark van Bommel

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 21:  Coach Louis van Gaal talks to captain Mark van Bommel during the Bayern Munich training session prior to the UEFA Champions League
Image: Van Bommel and Van Gaal didn't always see eye-to-eye

Mark van Bommel captained Bayern Munich to a domestic double in 2009/10, Van Gaal's first season in charge – but he, too, was on a collision course with his compatriot. The following January, Van Gaal signed Luiz Gustavo – a Brazilian defensive midfielder like Van Bommel but 10 years the Dutchman’s junior.

Within weeks Van Bommel had secured a transfer to AC Milan. “It is normal that the relationship crashes when a manager does not pick a certain player any more," said Van Gaal. "A manager has the right to do it. Mark was very angry with me. But I did not decide whether he should leave or not."

While Van Bommel has claimed the competition for a first-team spot Gustavo brought had nothing to do with his decision to leave, he has conceded his personality clash with Van Gaal caused problems – and told Dutch media he left Bayern without saying goodbye to his boss.

"I had a little problem with him in 2010 in December," he said. "Maybe I could have settled down and let it go. But that is the way I am. That is my character and it was his character as well."

Luca Toni 

Philipp Lahm of Bayern Munich xx during a training session on November 8, 2009 in Munich, Germany.
Image: Luca Toni fell out with Van Gaal at Bayern Munich

After battling back from an Achilles injury, Luca Toni – Bayern’s top scorer for the past two seasons (including their double-winning 2007/08 campaign) – expected a swift return to first-team duties in the autumn of 2009. However, Van Gaal saw things differently. With Miroslav Klose now the favoured forward under the Dutchman, Toni was consigned to the bench, the reserves and the stands.

The pair’s relationship seemingly got off to a bad start when Van Gaal hoiked a slouching Toni upright at a team meeting and from there on the Italian’s attitude failed to impress the manager.

"We have rules and we have to work within these rules," said Van Gaal. "Luca Toni did not stick to the rules. Every player, whether they are a world champion or whatever, has got to accept that he doesn’t play."

Toni – who incurred a heavy fine for driving home at half-time after being substituted against Schalke – was loaned to Roma in December 2009 and didn’t return.

"The way Van Gaal treated the key players was unworthy on a human basis," the 2006 World Cup winner later said.

Robin van Persie

Holland manager Louis van Gaal congratulates Robin van Persie as he is subbed off during the International Friendly match with Ecuador
Image: Van Gaal initially dropped Van Persie while in charge of Netherlands

One player to have bounced back from a fallout with Van Gaal is Robin van Persie. The striker was dropped as Netherlands’ first-choice forward after failing to speak up in a team discussion about the side’s failings at Euro 2012 under Van Gaal’s predecessor Bert van Marwijk.

However, he won over his future Manchester United boss with his diligence in training.

"I had to admit later that I really did not know the person behind the player, Van Persie in 2012," said Van Gaal. "I knew certain players shared my football philosophy. About Robin I knew nothing. I had to get to know him. But when I did, I soon realised he was an amazing professional. He was the ultimate pro.

"And also important for me was that he was very social towards the other players in the squad. He showed leadership – and this is why 10 months later I made him captain of the Dutch team. He deserved that. He completely shares my vision on football."

However, Van Persie appears to be the victim of Van Gaal’s ruthlessness once again – the striker is on his way to Fenerbahce after a disappointing season under his former Netherlands boss with Manchester United. 

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