Hristo Stoichkov slams Louis van Gaal for Barcelona exit

Hristo Stoichkov has hit out at Louis van Gaal, claiming the current Manchester United manager engineered his departure from Barcelona.

The Bulgaria legend played for Van Gaal briefly during the 1997-98 season, when Stoichkov had returned to the Camp Nou and the Dutchman had arrived from Ajax.

And Stoichkov, a forward who scored 314 goals in his club career, told L'Equipe: "I don't have any respect for him. He's a bastard.

"One day, when I was injured and I was with my wife at the Camp Nou, he went up to her and asked how it was possible to have married someone like me. She replied that I had won a Ballon d'Or..."

On whether his departure from Barca was due to Van Gaal, Stoichkov said: "Yes, that's certain, it was Van Gaal's fault."

Stoichkov, who was the six-goal top scorer in the 1994 World Cup, was twice runner-up in the World Player of the Year voting.

He was a member of Johan Cruyff's "Dream Team" who won four successive La Liga titles and the European Cup in 1992 and scored 118 goals for the Catalan club, 109 of them in his first spell at the Camp Nou between 1990 and 1995.

Ian Holyman contributed to this report