The Levi’s Stadium, San Francisco will be the venue as FC Barcelona meet up with an old friend in Louis Van Gaal. On Saturday 25 July at 10.00pm CET, Manchester United will be Catalans’ second opponents in the International Champions Cup.
The Dutchman took over at Old Trafford last season after guiding his national team to the semi-finals of the Brazil 2014 World Cup, three years after leaving his last club managerial role at Bayern Munich.
After a poor final year at Ajax, who he had led to the European title in 1995, Van Gaal came to the Camp Nou in the summer of 1997 having been touted as the ideal successor to the great Johan Cruyff. Arriving as a replacement for Bobby Robson, his first season was a huge success as Barça won the league and cup double for the first time in 39 years, and added the European Super Cup as well.
He then became only the third FCB manager (after Enrique Fernández and Helenio Herrera) to ever win the league in his first two seasons in charge. But his third year was less fortunate. The team finished second in the league and reached the last four of both the Cup and Champions League, but Van Gaal decided not to see out the final year of his contract.
What followed his departure were three barren years for the club. President Joan Gaspart convinced Van Gaal to return in 2002 and get the football team back to its previous winning ways. But things didn’t go well at all, and in January the Dutchman was shown the door. In his two spells at the club, Van Gaal had overseen a total of 201 official matches.
Louis van Gaal is now about to start his second year on the bench at Manchester United. Last summer he took over a team that was a fry cry from the one that had dominated English football for two decades. After a slow start, the Dutchman has made a huge impact at Old Trafford, and this season welcomes to the squad one of the biggest names from his days at Bayern Munich, Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The other name on everyone’s lips where the Red Devils are concerned is Memphis Depay, the promising young Dutch international who has moved to Manchester from PSV Eindhoven.