Gueye said it was an honor to share such a moving moment with the legendary and innovative coach Van Gaal
Posted Date – Thu, 11/24/22 at 11:15pm
Doha: Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal was surprised during Thursday’s World Cup press conference when a Senegalese journalist told the Dutchman he was a longtime admirer.
“I don’t have any questions for you. It’s just a chance to tell you that I’ve been a fan since I was 3 years old,” says Papa Mahmoud Gueye. “I love you.” Van Gaal, 71, who is sometimes seen in football as deadpan, taciturn and opinionated, broke into a broad smile before responding.
“I’m going to give you a big hug after this because I like it when you say it and I mean it,” Van Gaal said through a translator.
“Because people don’t often say that to me. So we’ll give each other a big hug afterward.” True to his word, Van Gaal stepped off the stage and gestured for reporters to join him in his arms. Gueye, 28, works for the Senegalese publication Taggat.sn.
Gueye told the Associated Press that it was an honor to share such a moving moment with Van Gaal, a legendary and innovative coach who led teams such as Ajax, Barcelona and Manchester United. “He’s one of the greatest figures in football,” Gueye said.
“He was also happy to see someone love him, and he said to me let’s give him a hug.” Gueye said Van Gaal had earned an unfair reputation for his short temper over the years. “That’s not the case. From a distance, people generally don’t think he’s cool,” Gaye said.
“But he’s a laughing character, he laughs with everyone. He’s one of the best coaches in the world.” The Netherlands beat Senegal 2-0 on Monday.