Louis van Gaal has hailed AZ Alkmaar’s Dutch title success achievement as possibly the highlight of his career.
Van Gaal, who won back-to-back Spanish titles with Barcelona in 1998-99, said on Monday: “This was perhaps the most notable because it was the most unexpected.
“I am truly very proud.”
Since leaving Barcelona in 2000 the 57-year-old had struggled to make his mark, failing to qualify Holland for the 2002 World Cup in his stint as national coach.
A brief return to the Nou Camp between 2000 and 2003 came to nothing after which he had a spell as technical director at Ajax.
But the lure of management proved too strong and in 2005 he returned as manager at AZ Alkmaar where his managerial career had begun back in 1986.
“When I arrived here there was still an old 8,000-capacity stadium which was almost never full,” recalled van Gaal.
“Since 2008 we’ve had a new ground for almost 20,000 fans and since last season we’ve had a full house at each game.”
He added: “The aim now is to turn AZ into a big national club and one that is known in Europe. The president wants to do things in stages which touches every domain and not merely results on the pitch.”
Van Gaal confirmed he would remain at AZ unless he gets an offer to return to international management.
“I’ll honour my contract unless a top national team comes knocking at my door,” says the man whose dream is “to one day compete in a European Championships or World Cup”.