Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal reacted to praise from a Senegalese journalist by offering – and later delivering – a ‘big hat hug’ to the reporter.
The Oranje beat Senegal 2-0 in their World Cup opener on Monday, thanks to late goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen – both following mistakes from goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
Van Gaal’s side now face Ecuador on Friday and speaking in a press conference ahead of that match, the Dutch coach was surprised by a journalist who did not have a question but said he wanted to use the opportunity to tell the former Manchester United manager he was a ‘fan’ of the 71-year-old.
Louis van Gaal showed love to this young journalist ❤️ pic.twitter.com/IMJiwZWxLXNovember 24, 2022
“I can hug you,” Van Gaal replied. “I’ll give you a big fat hug later on. I think it’s great that you said this. People don’t often say these things to me. So I’m going to give you a big fat hug.”
And true to his word, Van Gaal embraced the young reporter in front of a packed press room, while right-back Denzel Dumfries applauded the gesture.
Senegal meet Qatar in Group A at 13:00 GMT on Friday, with the Netherlands in action against Ecuador three hours later in Doha.