By Chris Wright
While Louis van Gaal and his off-kilter ways are no stranger to divided opinion, former Barcelona forward Hristo Stoichkov’s recent appraisal of the Dutchman leaves absolutely no room for interpretation.
Stoichkov played for a total of seven seasons at Barca between 1990 and 1998 (with a one-year stint at Parma in the middle), the last two of which were spent playing under Van Gaal’s tutelage before being ushered out at the age of 32.
Not that the Bulgarian forward remembers those days fondly. In fact he actively resents Van Gaal for bringing the happiest days of his life to an end.
“I have no respect for Van Gaal. He’s scum as a person,” Stoichkov told Catalan paper Sport.
“Once, we went to the Bernabeu after I had been injured on my knee and he made me play left-back.
“On another day, while I was injured, he went to my wife and asked her how it was possible that she married such a bad person like me.
“My wife responded that I had won the Ballon d’Or.
“The happiest day of my life was when I joined Barcelona and the saddest when I left…and it was Van Gaal’s fault.”
Don’t hold back, Hristo. Tell us how you really feel.
Now we’re all well aware that Van Gaal can be a crotchety old sod at the best of times, but in his defence it’s not like Stoichkov himself has a reputation for being the most amiable gentleman in Christendom.
We think you can probably take these snipes with a generous pinch of sodium chloride.