Giggs shares story of Van Gaal punching him during their first meeting

Louis Van Gaal is definitely one of the more bizarre characters to have taken the reigns at Old Trafford.

Mike Smalling, sex masochism, hitting the deck on the touchline, his time in charge definitely brought talking points. Among all that, it’s easy to forget he did deliver an FA Cup victory for United too.

Ryan Giggs has shed some light on the enigmatic character, telling a typically unusual story of how the Dutchman actually punched him during the pair’s first meeting.

Speaking to Jamie Carragher on the Greatest Game Podcast, Giggs said: “He was different. He was very dominating.

“The first time I met him he punched me in the stomach.

“I’ve gone to meet him, we’ve got a list of the players that I think were good and the ones that were not so good.

“I’ve gone to meet him at a hotel, he’s opened the door, looked at me up and down and gone ‘you are in good shape!’ Then he punched me in the stomach. It was hard as well and I didn’t know what to do. You could have given something back but that’s me out of a job.

“But that’s what he was like. He was very dominating and would be right up in your face.

“He would be a nightmare now with social distancing. He would be right up in your face, looking down on you and very direct.

“He looked after his staff and his players and he was a really good person but just very quirky.”


The welshman’s time in the dugout at Old Trafford came to an end with Van Gaal’s departure, something which Giggs said was tough to deal with at first.

“There was no conversation with Jose. It was a hard two years [under Van Gaal] and I got offered a job with the younger teams, I just felt it was the right time to leave. It was sad but a bit of relief, I bit like lost like ‘what do I do now.’

“It was a difficult sort of 18 months and I had no idea of what I wanted to do.

“I took on a role in Vietnam, like a director’s role where I go over there three times a year.

“There was a bit of media work, I did the Euros and there were a few other bits to keep me busy.

“I was watching my son play football for the first time in years and I soon realised there was a life outside of football.”

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