Van Dijk hopes to make Qatar World Cup memorable for ailing Van Gaal

Soccer Football — Champions League — Liverpool Training — AXA Training Centre, Liverpool, Britain — April 4, 2022 Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk during training Action Images via Reuters/Molly Darlington/Files

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April 4 (Reuters) — Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk hopes to make this year’s World Cup in Qatar an unforgettable experience for coach Louis van Gaal who is battling aggressive prostate cancer, the defender said on Monday.

Speaking on Dutch television show Humberto, 70-year-old former Manchester United and Barcelona boss Van Gaal revealed his diagnosis on Sunday but said he plans to carry on in his role. read more

Van Dijk said he was in shock after hearing the interview in which the veteran manager stated that he often left the national team at night to go to the hospital without the players finding out until now.

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«I messaged him after the interview. It definitely says a lot about him. I said to him as well, he’s probably not that type of guy that needs a lot of sympathy, that’s how he is,» Liverpool defender Van Dijk told reporters.

«But I told him that we are definitely going to be there for him as a group whenever he needs it, and hopefully we can also make it a World Cup for him to never forget.»

The Netherlands face hosts Qatar, Senegal and Ecuador in the group stages of the World Cup which kicks off in November.

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Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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