Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has announced that he is battling prostate cancer.
The Netherlands head coach confirmed the diagnosis on Dutch television show Humberto as he promoted his new film, LOUIS, explaining that he had kept the illness a secret from his players for a considerable period of time.
‘In each period during my time as manager of the national team I had to leave in the night to go to the hospital without the players finding it out until now, while thinking I was healthy, but… I am not,’ he said.
‘I think you don’t tell people you work with like that because it might influence their choices, their decisiveness. So I thought they shouldn’t know.’
Going into more detail on his health issue, Van Gaal revealed that he had a ‘pretty aggressive form’ of cancer, but was staying positive as he paid tribute to the hospital staff that had treated him.
‘You don’t die from prostate cancer, at least not in 90 per cent of the cases. It is usually other underlying diseases that kill you.
‘But I had a pretty aggressive form, got irradiated 25 times. Then you have a lot of management to do in order to go through life.
‘I did have preferential treatment in the hospital. I was allowed in through the back door when I went to an appointment and was immediately pushed into another room.
‘I have been treated wonderfully. You will of course tell your friends and relatives about it. The fact that nothing has come out yet also says something about my environment. That’s great.’
Despite his battle with cancer, Van Gaal has managed to guide the Netherlands to the World Cup in Qatar later this year. They will face hosts Qatar, Ecuador and Senegal in the group stages.