Ronald Koeman has been confirmed as the new Netherlands head coach after the 2022 World Cup, taking over the role from Louis van Gaal.
Van Gaal revealed over the weekend that he has an ‘aggressive’ form of prostate cancer and has already been undergoing what he called ‘great’ treatment.
Koeman, who was in charge of the Oranje between 2018 and 2020 prior to landing the job at Barcelona, will officially assume control at the start of 2023. His contract will run until after the 2026 World Cup, also taking in Euro 2024.
“Proud to share that after the World Cup I will once again fulfil the role of national coach of the Netherlands. Very much looking forward to this new challenge, on to achieving new successes together,” the 59-year-old posted on Twitter as the news was announced.
Trots om te delen dat ik na het WK opnieuw de rol van bondscoach van Nederland ga vervullen. Ontzettend veel zin in deze nieuwe uitdaging, op naar het bereiken van nieuwe successen samen! 🇳🇱 #onsoranje pic.twitter.com/Olk81f99qu
— Ronald Koeman (@RonaldKoeman) April 6, 2022
Having retired from a glittering playing career in the late 1990s, Koeman began his coaching career as an assistant in the national team setup going into the 1998 World Cup under Guus Hiddink.
He was then an assistant coach to Van Gaal at Barcelona, before going on to manage at Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, Feyenoord, Valencia, Southampton, Everton and others. His most recent job was at Barcelona, where he was sacked in October 2021 under difficult circumstances.
Discussing his cancer diagnosis on Dutch television, Van Gaal said: “I think that’s part of life. I’ve been through so much in my life with death, in my family, with my wife. I have probably become richer in my life as a human being because of all those experiences.
“I had a great treatment. You also say it to friends and relatives, but that also says something about my family, that they keep that a secret. During my periods as national coach, I went to the hospital every night at night, without the players knowing,” he said.
“Prostate cancer doesn’t kill you. It is usually the underlying diseases that you die from. But it is an aggressive form. I’ve been irradiated 25 times – then you need a lot of management to get through life. But I have an incredible amount of willpower to keep going.”
He also described his current Dutch squad as a ‘gift later in life’.