Juan Mata opened his first meeting with Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford
Mata added that Van Gaal often became “emotional” when discussing his core values: “He was scary. I tell you. He was a lovely person; A very, very good person.
Louis Van Gaal: a scary man
Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata opened his first meeting with Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford, admitting that the coach had initially come across as “scary” before they met. In January 2014, Mata completed the move to Old Trafford from Chelsea for £37 million($44 million), becoming the second signing of the ill-fated board of David Moyes in the club. The Scot was relieved of his coaching duties three months later amid a series of disappointing results, and United turned to an experienced tactic with an impressive CV built during spells at Ajax, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich. Louis signed a three-year contract with Man United and immediately set about stamping his mark on the squad, plunging into the transfer market, while talking to different groups in the pre-season.
Van Gaal was very warm person
Juan recalls that he was intimidated by the Dutchman after he called to his office for dating, but said that his first impressions quickly dissipated to reveal a “warm and genuine person.” “I arrived in the room, and it was he, Ryan Giggs and a bottle of Rioja, red wine, with three glasses,” said the Spanish playmaker in the official United podcast. “He said: “Do you want a drink?” And I: “No, no, I’m fine.” He drank and said: “Tell me who you are.” My name is Juan, and I’m 26, I play football. No, no, tell me who you are as a man. What do you find valuable in life?
He often became ’emotional’
“From now on, he can look scary face to face and sometimes comes close to you, but after that, he was a warm and genuine person. He was more than a football manager with tactics, he is a great man, and I learned a lot from him.” Mata added that Van Gaal often became “emotional” when discussing his core values: “He was scary. I tell you. He was a lovely person; A very, very good person; Very genuine and very reasonable. You would not expect it, but he was very sane. “He could become emotional and sometimes cried when talking about important issues. When he found the right values, the proper football, he became emotional.”
Currently, Mata is self-isolating at home with his team-mates in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that caused the end of the 2019-20 campaign. The 31-year-old specialist put pen to paper under a new two-year contract for Old Trafford last summer and has since played a key role with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team as the Red Devils fight to return to the Champions League.