Sometimes you just need a hug as Van Gaal embraces reporter

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Coaches can expect to be mercilessly grilled at the World Cup but the Netherlands’ boss Louis Van Gaal was thrown a real curve ball during a news conference on Thursday that left him shocked.

For many managers, addressing hundreds of reporters is one of the more challenging obligations of a World Cup as it was for Van Gaal as he fielded questions on everything from human rights to tactics ahead of Friday’s clash with Ecuador. But the one that caught Van Gaal off guard came from Papa Mahmoud Gueye, a young journalist from Senegal, beaten 2-0 by the Netherlands in their opening match, who earnestly raised his hand, took the microphone and told the Dutch coach, “I have no question”.

“I am a young journalist who just started,” began Gueye. “I have no question for you just an opportunity to tell how I am fan of yours since childhood even if you did give us our first defeat (in this tournament).”

The comment seemed to catch the 71-year-old off guard before he broke into a huge smile.

“Oh, can I hug you,” beamed Van Gaal. “I will give you a big fat hug later on because I think it is great that you said this really, honestly people don’t often say these things to me, I am going to give you a big fat hug.”

True to his word, when the news conference concluded Van Gaal came down from the podium and greeted the young man and embraced him as Dutch defender Denzel Dumfries applauded and a crowd gathered to grab a picture of the fun moment.