Speaking at his press conference before Netherlands’ Group A match with Ecuador, Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal told a Senegalese journalist he would give him a “big hug” after the journalist, Papa Mahmoud Gueye, expressed his admiration for the former Bayern Munich and Manchester United coach.
Gueye said: “I don’t have any questions for you. This is just an opportunity for me to tell you that I’ve been a fan since I was three years old. I love you.” Van Gaal, now 71, replied: “I’m going to give you a big hug after this, because I like that you say this and I mean that, seriously, because people don’t often say that to me. So we’ll give each other a big hug afterward.”
Gueye later told the Press Association: “He’s one of the greatest figures in football. He was also happy to see that there are people who love him… From a distance, people generally think that he’s not cool but he’s a smiley character and he laughs with everyone. He’s one of the best coaches in the world.”
A smiling Van Gaal kept his word and stepped down to speak to Gueye and gave the reporter a hug after the press conference.