Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal has revealed that his treatment for prostate cancer has been successful.
The legendary coach disclosed the news of his illness earlier in April, confirming in an interview with Dutch television that he had an aggressive form of the disease.
Van Gaal, who has previously taken charge of Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester United, is currently in his third spell as Netherlands head coach. He had kept the illness from his players, even sneaking to to hospital at night without his squad’s knowledge.
Now, after more than two dozen rounds of radiotherapy, Van Gaal has revealed that the treatment has been a success.
“I’ve been through everything. I had 25 radiation treatments. Then I had to wait five or six months to see if it had done its job. It did,” the 70-year-old told ANP.
Van Gaal had previously praised the treatment he had received upon first disclosing his diagnosis, saying: “I had a great treatment. You also say it to friends and relatives, but that also says something about my family, that they keep that a secret. During my periods as national coach, I went to the hospital every night at night, without the players knowing.
“Look, prostate cancer doesn’t kill you. It is usually the underlying diseases that you die from. But it is an aggressive form,” he added.
“I’ve been irradiated 25 times – then you need a lot of management to get through life. But I have an incredible amount of willpower to keep going. This group of players is a gift at a later age.”
Netherlands have qualified for the 2022 World Cup under Van Gaal’s tutelage, having missed out in 2018. The Oranje will face hosts Qatar, AFCON champions Senegal and Ecuador in the group stage.
Van Gaal will step down after the tournament to be replaced by Ronald Koeman, who is himself returning for a repeat spell in charge after previously holding the job from 2018 to 2020.