A somewhat forgotten star of Van Gaal’s Bayern Munich, Danijel Pranjic, emerged with an interesting interview by Spox (via Bild). He gives us insight into the mess that Louis Van Gaal made, but also talked about his impressive football philosophy.
Pranjić was one of the first acquisitions of Louis Van Gaal, back in 2009. Louis was impressed by Danijel’s ball control and ball-winning abilities, and so decided that he should play for Bayern. In retrospect, Danijel was never an undisputed starter, especially not under Jupp Heynckes, but Daniel looks back positively at his time spent at Bavaria.
For Pranjić, Van Gaal was the best coach he had in his long career: “He was a perfectionist who cared about every little detail.” Danijel describes him as almost obsessed with his football philosophy. Danijel added: “In the long run, both players and the club itself benefited from Van Gaal’s philosophy.”
Ribery (partially) guilty for Van Gaal’s untimely departure from Munich
Van Gaal is a complicated guy, and that impacted his relationship with his players. One player who had problems with him was Franck Ribery. Pranjić explains that the two had a bad start, primarily due to Van Gaal’s decision to play Ribery as an attacking midfielder. Pranjić added: “I think that if Franck had sometimes had better control of himself and obeyed the coach’s instructions, the mood in the team would have been better and, as a result, a longer collaboration with van Gaal might have been possible.”
Danijel admits that Van Gaal didn’t have an easy personality, but emphasizes that he never had problems with the coach. The biggest problem was that “we had no freedom whatsoever and there was rarely any sign of a relaxed atmosphere on the training pitch. That might work for one season.”
Sure, Louis Van Gaal was not an easy guy to work with. He never stayed long at a club, except when he coached clubs in the Netherlands. He caused drama wherever he worked. But in the bigger picture, he paved the way for Bayern to become what it is. His philosophy shaped modern football into what we know it today.