Louis van Gaal arrives at Manchester United with an outstanding record of success first in his native Netherlands and subsequently at some of the biggest clubs in the world.
As a manager he has won league titles in three different countries, guided a youthful Ajax side to UEFA Champions League glory, as well as lifting the UEFA Cup, and the 62-year-old will be in charge of the Dutch national team as they attempt to win this year's World Cup in Brazil to conclude his second spell in charge of the Oranje.
Born Aloysius Paulus Maria van Gaal in Amsterdam on 8 August 1951, he joined Ajax aged 20 and while he never played for the great Dutch club's first team, the influence of the time he spent immersed in its culture of Total Football has never left him.
He cut his teeth at professional level after moving over the border to Royal Antwerp in Belgium, but following four years there he returned to Holland to complete his playing career, briefly at Telstar, then for eight years at Sparta Rotterdam before retiring after a short stint at AZ.
Van Gaal remained at AZ to begin a coaching and management career where the characteristics of fluent passing, talented youngsters being given a chance and canny tactics through a high attention to detail have remained to great effect at the highest level of the global game.
After leaving AZ, van Gaal's coaching education continued under the legendary Leo Beenhakker at Ajax, who he succeeded as first team boss in 1991. The club's fortunes had dipped since the golden era of the 1970s, but under van Gaal Ajax secured three consecutive Eredivisie titles and the UEFA Cup. But more importantly they delivered European Cup success, in its new guise as the Champions League, returning the trophy to the club for the first time in over 20 years.
A side containing future United star Edwin van der Sar, the De Boer brothers, Frank Rijkaard, Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Marc Overmars and Patrick Kluivert overcame AC Milan in Vienna, and after this success it was inevitable that van Gaal would be linked with some of the biggest clubs in Europe. He eventually succeeded Bobby Robson at Barcelona in