Manchester United have named Louis Van Gaal as their new manager, while Ryan Giggs has been appointed as his assistant.
Giggs, United’s most decorated ever player, has announced his immediate retirement from the game to take up his new role, thus bringing the curtain down on a remarkable career for the Welsh wizard.
However Van Gaal’s appointment takes precedence as United look to re-build after a disastrous season under the leadership of their former manager, David Moyes. The Dutch coach, who will lead Holland at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, has been handed a three-year contract.
“To work as a manager for Manchester United, the biggest club in the world, makes me very proud,” Van Gaal declared upon his unveiling. “This club has big ambitions. I too have big ambitions. Together I’m sure we will make history.”
Van Gaal has won titles across Europe with the likes of Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AZ Alkmaar, while he also helped to mould the current teams at the two latter clubs, both of which have gone on to achieve huge success.
“I have managed in games at Old Trafford before and know what an incredible arena Old Trafford is and how passionate and knowledgable the fans are,” he added.
Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, also spoke glowingly of Van Gaal: “In Louis van Gaal, we have secured the services of one of the outstanding managers in the game today. He has achieved many things in his career to date and Old Trafford provides him with a fitting stage on which to write new chapters in the Manchester United story.”
Van Gaal is expected to be provided with around $250million to spend on new players, and the likes of Marco Reus, Toni Kroos, Mats Hummels and Kevin Strootman have each been linked to a move to England already.
Meanwhile, Ryan Giggs has decided to embark on his new tenure as the Red Devils’ assistant manager without the distraction of playing for the team too. Giggs previously managed United’s last four games of the 2013/2014 season after Moyes had been sacked.
Giggs retires having won 34 trophies, and it’s extremely unlikely that his success will ever be matched by another player in the English game again. This is because during his 23-year career Giggs has picked up 13 league titles, the same as Arsenal have managed during their entire 128 history, only Liverpool’s 18 and United’s 20 titles eclipse his solo haul, as well as four FA Cups and two Champions Leagues.
Giggs has written an emotional open letter to United’s fans that announced his retirement, which you can read below:
Today is a fantastic day for Manchester United. Louis van Gaal is a great appointment and let me begin by telling you how delighted I am to be working with someone of his calibre. His credentials are second to none and I’m positive the club will thrive under his leadership over the coming years.
I would also like to take this opportunity to announce my retirement from professional football and embark upon a new and exciting chapter in my life, as assistant manager of Manchester United. I am immensely proud, honoured and fortunate to have represented the biggest club in the world 963 times and Wales 64 times. My dream was always to play for Manchester United, and although it saddens me to know I won’t be pulling on a United jersey again as a player, I have been lucky enough to have fulfilled that dream playing with some of the best players in the world, working under an incredible manager in Sir Alex Ferguson, and most of all, playing for the greatest fans in world football. I have always felt and appreciated your support.
I want to also give a huge thanks to the backroom staff and support teams we have and have had at Manchester United over the years. I would not have achieved the success I have without your continuing dedication and commitment to creating the best environment to enable the players to thrive. I would not have won 34 trophies in my career without you. I would also like to say a special thanks to my friends and family for all your love and support.
For me, today is a new chapter filled with many emotions – immense pride, sadness, but most of all, excitement towards the future. United fans I hope will share and echo my belief that the club, the management and owners, are doing everything they can to return this great club to where it belongs, and I hope to be there every step of the way. To the greatest fans in world football, thank you, I have loved every minute of playing for you and representing the biggest and best club in the world.
See you next season,
[Image via Laszlo Szirtesi/Shutterstock]