Louis van Gaal is the most talked-about manager in world football at the moment, and hardly a day goes by without an ex-footballer or an ex-coach giving his opinion of the Dutchman.
The latest to speak out about the current Netherlands boss is Luis Enrique, who played under the 62-year-old during two separate spells at Barcelona.
Enrique, now the manager of Spanish club Celta Vigo following a brief coaching stint at Italian outfit Roma, is one of the few players who have crossed the Barcelona-Real Madrid divide with success.
The 43-year-old former Spain international first made his name with Madrid between 1991 and 1996, and then moved to Barca and played for the Catalan giants until his retirement in 2004.
It was at Camp Nou that he worked under Van Gaal, first during a successful period between 1997 and 2000 and then during a failed spell in 2002-03.
Enrique was a brilliant player during his time and was equally temperamental. The ex-Barcelona B coach has now revealed that he did get into arguments with Van Gaal, but has claimed that he learned a lot from the Dutchman.
‘The trainer I learned most from about the field of play was Van Gaal, even though he’s the one I’ve had the most confrontations with’, ESPN quotes him as saying. ‘Well, disagreements. He’s got an obsession with work ethic, the way he plans. Maybe I preferred a lighter style to his. You learn something from everyone, even the bad coaches. Because they tell you something, and you think: I’ll never do that in the future’.
Lest one forgets, Enrique played under Vicente del Bosque, Sir Bobby Robson, Jorge Valdano and Javier Clemente – high-profile names – so the fact that he says that he learned the most from Van Gaal illustrates how much respect the former Ajax boss commands in the footballing community.
Should Manchester United be warned by Enrique’s admission that he had confrontations with Van Gaal? It is not unheard of players to have a clash of opinions with their managers, so the Red Devils hierarchy need not unduly worry about it.
Yet, when things start to go wrong – and they will do so at some point as it happens with every team – then it could get ugly.