Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has announced that he is battling cancer and Marcus Rashford, who was given his debut by the Dutch boss, has sent him a classy message
Image: Michael Regan)
Van Gaal, who was in charge at Old Trafford for two years and handed Rashford his dream debut in February 2016, made the announcement on live television Sunday night. The 70-year-old has received a swell of support from former clubs, players and fellow coaches, with Van Gaal continuing to fight the diagnosis while managing the Netherlands for a third time ahead of the World Cup finals in Qatar later this year.
Rashford took to Twitter on Monday morning to pay tribute to the Dutchman’s impact on his career, writing: “Earned my debut from LVG. Will forever be indebted. You can fight this. We are all behind you.” Following an injury crisis in the Red Devils’ attack, Van Gaal selected the academy graduate to start a Europa League round-of-32 second leg at home to Midtjylland, marking the beginning of his promising career with two fairytale goals before doing the same in the Premier League against Arsenal three days later.
The acclaimed coach led United to FA Cup glory in his second and final season at Old Trafford, with Rashford starring along the way. Rashford’s tweet followed a similarly classy message from the club which read: “Everybody at Manchester United is fully behind our former manager, Louis van Gaal, in his battle against cancer. Sending you strength and courage, Louis.”
The ex-Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Ajax boss opened up on his battle while promoting his new film, LOUIS, on Dutch programme Humberto. Van Gaal’s fight is featured in the film, although the diagnosis had been kept a secret from his players. “In each period during my time as manager of the national team I had to leave in the night to go to the hospital without the players finding it out until now, while thinking I was healthy. But.. I am not,” the 1995 Champions League winner explained.
“I think you don’t tell people you work with like that because it might influence their choices, their decisiveness,” Van Gaal, via Voetbal International, added: “So I thought they shouldn’t know. You don’t die from prostate cancer, at least not in ninety percent of the cases.
“It is usually other underlying diseases that kill you. But I had a pretty aggressive form, got irradiated 25 times. Then you have a lot of management to do in order to go through life. I did have preferential treatment in the hospital. I was allowed in through the back door when I went to an appointment and was immediately pushed into another room.
“I have been treated wonderfully. You will of course tell your friends and relatives about it. The fact that nothing has come out yet also says something about my environment. That’s great.”