Aloysius Paulus Maria "Louis" van Gaal ( born 8 August 1951) is a Dutch football manager and former player who is the current head coach of the Netherlands national team. At club level, he served as manager of Ajax, Barcelona, AZ Alkmaar, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United, as well as having three spells in charge of the Netherlands national team. Van Gaal is one of the most decorated managers in world football, having won 20 major honours in his managerial career. He is sometimes nicknamed the "Iron Tulip".
Before his career as a coach, Van Gaal played as a midfielder for Royal Antwerp, Telstar, Sparta Rotterdam, Ajax and AZ. He is also a fully qualified physical education teacher, and worked at high schools during his career as a semi-professional footballer. After a brief spell as an assistant coach at AZ, Van Gaal served as the assistant under Leo Beenhakker at Ajax and eventually took over as head coach in 1991. Under his lead, the club won three Eredivisie titles, the UEFA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League. He moved to Barcelona in 1997 and won two league titles and one Copa del Rey, but left after disagreements with the club's hierarchy.
Van Gaal was then appointed at the Netherlands, but failed to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. This preceded another brief spell at Barcelona, before he returned to AZ, where he won an Eredivisie title, and was hired by Bayern Munich in 2009. In Germany, he secured the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal, and reached the final of the Champions League, but returned to the Netherlands, where he led the nation to a third-place finish at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He was then hired at Manchester United later that summer, where he won one FA Cup before being dismissed in 2016. Despite previously announcing his retirement due to family reasons in 2019, Van Gaal returned to management in August 2021 when he was appointed as head coach of the Netherlands for a third time.