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What sparked Ronald Koeman "terrible" relationship with Louis van Gaal?


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At one time, Ronald Koeman was being linked with a future role as a Barcelona manager.

Instead his career hit a sticky point as a poor start to the Premier League season saw Everton sack him.

Meanwhile, eight years on from reaching the 2010 World Cup final and then following it up with a semi final run in 2014, Netherlands will be absent from Russia 2018 as they were at Euro 2016.

Thus, two parties in need of a lift have come together as Koeman becomes manager of the Dutch national side.

To discuss the situation and what to expect we spoke to David Winner, author of renowned Dutch football book Brilliant Orange.

He described Koeman's appointment as "fairly popular" with the Dutch public as optimism returns thanks to the younger generation showing signs of an improvement.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal (left) and Southampton manager Ronald Koeman before the Barclays Premier League match at St Mary's, Southampton. Adam Davy/PA Archive/PA Images

"There is a slightly darker side to Koeman which is not widely known - for example his relationship with Louis van Gaal is terrible because of an incident that happened when Van Gaal in the early 2000s when Koeman was a coach at Ajax and Van Gaal was the director of boxers," said Winner.

"There was a problem in the dressing room. Rafael van der Vaart and Zlatan Ibrahimovic basically were fighting the whole time. They just couldn't stand each other and Van Gaal as director of football came to Koeman and said, 'You have to get rid of them, I don't care who it is because this situation can't go on. Your call, your choice'. And Koeman got rid of Ibrahimovic.

"A short time later, after Ajax lost, I think it was to Bayern, his excuse after the game was that Van Gaal had told him to sell Ibrahimovic. Now, this is not the kind of incident that reflects terribly well on Koeman."


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