Former Barcelona star claims he despises Louis van Gaal

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Hristo Stoichkov, a former Barcelona player during the 1990’s and a member of Johann Cruyff’s “Dream Team,” has spoken his mind about current Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, and it’s not very nice.

Van Gaal became the manager of Barcelona in 1997 after a six-year spell at Ajax, and according to Stoichkov, the two didn’t exactly get along.

“I don’t have any respect for him,” Stoichkov told French paper L’Equipe before calling van Gaal a name that has translated to English as a number of different things, including “scum,” “garbage,” and a few other nastier terms.

Stoichkov enjoyed his most successful time at Barcelona during a five-year spell between 1990-1995, during which the club won four consecutive league titles and a European Cup. After a brief spell at Parma, Stoichkov returned to the Nou Camp in 1996 and was a player there when Van Gaal was hired.

The Bulgarian left a year later, and blames his Dutch boss for the departure. “Yes, that’s certain, it was Van Gaal’s fault,” Stoichkov said. He told a story about van Gaal that portrays him as a particularly distasteful individual. “One day, when I was injured and I was with my wife at the Camp Nou, he [van Gaal] went up to her and asked how it was possible to have married someone like me.”

Just because one person has a bad taste in their mouth from a working relationship doesn’t mean either person is indeed an unpleasant individual, but it does shed light on the inner workings of a manager/player relationship. That story taken at face value is a bit unfortunate, but it’s not an end-all-be-all account.

The forward left Spain in 1998 and made stops in Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia, and Japan before finishing the final three years of his career in Major League Soccer with Chicago and D.C.