Barcelona legend Hristo Stoichkov hits out at Louis van Gaal, calling ex-Manchester United manager a d***head and claiming ‘many have suffered in football’ due to his management style
- Hristo Stoichkov played for Louis van Gaal at Barcelona between 1997 and 1998
- The Bulgaria legend struggled for goals and fell out with the revered Dutch boss
- Stoichkov believes Van Gaal managed Juan Roman Riquelme and others poorly
- Van Gaal went on to spend two years at Manchester United but was axed in 2016
Legendary Barcelona striker Hristo Stoichkov has launched a stinging attack on former Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal.
Stoichkov played for Van Gaal at the Spanish giants before joining CSKA Sofia in 1998 and blames him for damaging the careers of ‘many’ in the game, including Argentina midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme.
Stoichkov told Radio Impacto: ‘Why didn’t Riquelme triumph at Barca? Because he had a d***head like Van Gaal as his coach. It’s clear, isn’t it?’
Barcelona icon Hristo Stoichkov has lashed out at ex-Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal
Van Gaal managed Stoichkov during his first spell as Barcelona manager but the pair fell out
‘He did good things that must be recognised but many have suffered in football due to his silly things.
‘He did not succeed because of the way Van Gaal put him on the field. But even so, the first year in Barcelona he also enjoyed a lot.
‘I enjoyed his goals, passes, plays, stepovers, but when one comes who wants to invent one thing from something else, it’s impossible.’
Van Gaal won La Liga twice during his first spell at Barcelona but became known for his defensive style later in his career and only won the FA Cup during his two years at Manchester United.
Stoichkov was prolific for Barca between 1990 and 1995 but less successful in his second spell
The Dutchman described Riquelme as ‘a political signing’ when he joined Barcelona for around £10million in 2002, making only 30 appearances in three years.
Stoichkov was known as one of the best strikers in the world but only scored seven goals for the club after re-signing from Parma in 1996 and repeatedly fell out with Van Gaal.
‘I suffered him,’ said Stoichkov, who won four consecutive Liga titles under Johan Cruyff between 1990 and 1995.
‘He entered the locker room and said that there was a lot of Cruyffism. And of course, I thought, “where is Johan and where are you?” There was a big difference.’
Van Gaal went on to take over from David Moyes at United in 2014 but he was sacked in 2016