Louis van Gaal wanted everyone to know he is a lover, not a fighter, as he moved to quell his feud with Argentine playmaker Angel Di Maria.
The Netherlands manager has attempted to ease tensions with Di Maria with their two nations preparing to go head-to-head in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar.
Van Gaal coached the 34-year-old when the pair were both at Manchester United, with Di Maria calling him the “worst” manager he has ever worked with.
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Addressing his former player’s comment during his pre-match press conference, Van Gaal said, “Di Maria calling me the worst manager he has ever had? He’s one of the few players with this opinion.
“I’m really sorry about this and I find it sad he said this.”
Dutch striker Memphis Depay, who also played under Van Gaal at Old Trafford, was sat alongside his national team coach in front of a room of journalists.
To make light of the situation, the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager turned to Depay with a comment which left the room in hysterics.
To emphasise the good relationship he holds with many of his former players, Van Gaal said: “Memphis had to deal with it too in Manchester, and now we kiss each other on the mouth.”
Depay burst out laughing before patting his manager on the back.
However, Van Gaal was not done yet, saying, “That kiss on the mouth.. he [Memphis] doesn’t want it, but this is fine.”
His squad cannot accuse their boss of favouritism, though, as earlier in the tournament, Van Gaal was sharing the love once again – kissing defender Denzel Dumfries on the cheek after his Man of the Match performance in their last-16 win against the USA.
“Denzel knows full well. The day before yesterday I gave him a big fat kiss. I’m going to give him another big fat kiss so everyone can see”, Van Gaal said.
The Dutch boss excelled in his role at centre stage of the press conference, dampening Di Maria’s claims, but the Argentine will be hoping for the last laugh as one team kisses goodbye to their chances of World Cup glory.
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