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Robin van Persie recalls being slapped by ex-Man United boss Louis van Gaal

Last updated 4 months ago | By Mirror

Van Persie celebrates with Van Gaal after scoring a goal against Spain in the 2014 World Cup [COURTESY]

Robin van Persie has lifted the lid on how Louis van Gaal slapped him at the World Cup – and then dealt him a knock-out blow at Manchester United.

Van Persie, 36, revealed how he got an angry cuff on the back of the head by his boss when he refused to be substituted during Holland's quarter-final shoot-out victory over Costa Rica in 2014.

When the pair later linked up at Old Trafford, the former Arsenal striker found himself on the receiving end of an even bigger shock when his manager told him his time at United was up.

The two men made up their differences last year when Van Persie invited Van Gaal to his testimonial game for Feyenoord.

But in a new book about the 68-year-old's coaching career called 'LVG – The Manager and the Total Person', Van Persie gives a full warts-and-all insight into his former boss.

Recalling the last-eight clash with Costa Rica in Sao Salvador, Van Persie said: “The game went into extra-time and I got cramp. Louis shouted 'I am taking you off.

“I turned around and shouted 'no, no, we have penalties soon' but the last 20 minutes were physically really hard for me.

“He (Van Gaal) could see that - and steam was coming out of his ears.

“When the match was finished and we gathered near the touchline, he got close to me and suddenly hit me.

“Bang! With a big flat hand he dealt me a blow and said in an angry way 'don't ever do that to me again.'

“I looked at him absolutely stunned. Louis said 'just get on with it and make sure you get it in the net from the spot.'

“I am glad I managed to put the penalty in the corner.

“When I look back on that incident, it was a weird moment, but that was Louis for you.

“Sometimes he can hug a player - and sometimes he can hit you.”

Holland finished third in Brazil, with Van Persie scoring four goals.

As soon as the tournament ended, he was working for Van Gaal again when the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach accepted the offer to become United boss.

Van Gaal's guided the Reds back into the Champions League, but Van Persie's season was so badly disrupted by injury that he only scored 10 goals.

Even so, the forward was shocked to discover what his manager had planned for him when they met at Mere golf club just outside Manchester in the summer of 2015 for a talk about the new campaign.

Van Persie said: “He (Van Gaal) said in a stone hard way 'you are the player, Robin, and I am the manager. I'm not leaving here - so you have to leave. You are done here in Manchester.'

“My family was settled so I said to him 'that's what you think – I have a contract for another year.' Louis just said 'you still have to go.'

“I asked him to explain where it had gone wrong between us, because I really didn't understand.

“Louis just said 'there is a difference between Louis van Gaal the national manager and Louis van Gaal the club manager.'

“I said 'we will never agree on this' and then I got up, shook his hand and left.

“Have I blamed him for this? It hurt. This had a massive impact on my family.

“Of course, I'd had some injuries. But I even played with pain and I went over the edge.

“I worked my guts off every day. I always gave absolutely everything. I still found it tough to get that message from him.”

Van Persie added: “In the summer of 2019 I left a message on Van Gaal's voicemail.

“When he returned the call, I said ‘Hi boss, Robin here. I would like to invite you for my testimonial.'

“I explained that the way I see him as a person has not been affected by what happened at United and that I would be honoured if he would come.

“His reply was ‘I love it how you have just spoken to me. I will be there'.”


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