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Postcard from Portugal

Van Gaal’s vacation greetings to FCB fans

Dear Bayern fans,

I’m writing to you from Portugal, where I’m on holiday. I’ve been here with my wife Truus at our house in Vale do Lobo for the last three weeks, and we’re really enjoying it, with the sun, the beach, good food and good wine – we’re having a fine time.

But even when I’m on vacation, football’s never far from my thoughts. On the one hand, I’m naturally thinking hard about resuming training with the team at Bayern next Monday. We’ll be without 13 players at the start due to the World Cup. Losing half your squad is hardly an easy situation for a coach, but my staff and I will make the best of it.

On the other hand, I’m watching the World Cup in South Africa with great interest, and I’m naturally keeping a very close eye on my own players. I sent each and every one of them a good luck text message beforehand. I have to say that Germany have made the best impression so far. Others will have to judge whether that’s anything to do with having five of my lads in the starting line-up. Whatever, Philipp Lahm and Co will have arrived with plenty of momentum after our great season. And I was obviously delighted to hear Thomas Müller say Germany were playing like a team coached by ‘Louis van Löw’.

As for my home country, Holland were a shade subdued in their opening match, but I’m sure they’ll improve in the course of the finals. The Danes were extremely defensive, which made it hard work. But once Arjen Robben recovers full fitness, my colleague Bert van Marwijk will be able to call on a player who can truly make the difference.

Finally, I’d like to thank you again for the incredible reception on our return from Madrid. We were all down after losing to Inter, but the unbelievable passion shown by the crowds in Munich soon put the smiles back on our faces. I’m really looking forward to the new season, although it definitely won’t be easy to be as successful as my first season in Munich. But with the same level of support you’ve shown us in recent weeks, we should definitely achieve things next term.

Warmest regards,

Louis van Gaal