Netherlands manager Van Gaal confirms he's battling prostate cancer

Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal said on Sunday that he is battling prostate cancer.

Speaking on Dutch television show Humberto, the 70-year-old former Manchester United and Barcelona manager revealed his diagnosis, but declared he plans to carry on in his role.

"I have now had four periods as national coach, I went to the hospital in the evening or at night in every period. Without the players knowing," Van Gaal said. "They still see those ruddy cheeks of mine, and think 'What a healthy pear that is.' Well, of course, I am not.

"I don't think you tell the people you work with like that, because that might influence their choices or decisiveness or whatever. I thought they shouldn't know.

"Look, you don't [die from] prostate cancer, at least about 90%. It is usually the underlying diseases that kill you. I did have an aggressive form. I have been irradiated 25 times. Then you have a lot of management to do, and then go through life."

Van Gaal, whose treatment began in 2021, spoke glowingly of the hospital staff that looked after him, as well as his friends and family, for their help in keeping the matter private.

"I had preferential treatment," Van Gaal said. "I was allowed in through the back entrance. If I had to wait, I was immediately put in another room. I had a great treatment.

"You say the same to your friends and family. That also says something about my environment: that they keep their mouths shut. That's clever."

In his third spell as Netherlands coach, Van Gaal has guided his country to the World Cup in Qatar, where they will face the hosts, Senegal and Ecuador in the group stages later this year.

His management career has spanned almost four decades. Van Gaal has won league titles with Barcelona, Ajax, Bayern Munich and AZ Alkmaar.

He spent two seasons at Man United, leading the club to an FA Cup triumph in 2016 before being dismissed days later.