Van Gaal returns to struggling Ajax as adviser

Ajax Amsterdam have hired their former head coach Louis van Gaal as an adviser, the Dutch club said on Tuesday, as they look to end a string of disappointing results.

Ajax are in 15th place in the 18-team Eredivisie table, and have not won a match since the opening weekend, despite spending over €100 million ($104.71 million) on new players in the close-season.

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Ajax finished third last season and failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 13 seasons.

Van Gaal, 72, won three league championships and the 1995 Champions League as head coach of the Amsterdam side between 1991 and 1997.

“I want to help Ajax, I’d like to bring in my football knowledge,” Van Gaal said in a statement. “We must find the way up again.”

Last week, Ajax fired their director of football Sven Mislintat, who had only been appointed in May, in a bid to quell unrest in and around the club due to their disappointing results.

Mislintat’s dismissal came hours after their home game against Feyenoord had to be abandoned when fans started rioting as Ajax went 3-0 down.

Ajax ultimately lost the match 4-0 when the remainder was played last Wednesday.

Ajax’s away match against RKC Waalwijk last Saturday was also abandoned a few minutes from time, after RKC goalkeeper Etienne Vaessen was knocked out in a clash with an opposing player — with Ajax leading 3-2.

Van Gaal, who said last year he was being treated for prostate cancer, has been a hero at Ajax ever since leading the club to their last Champions League triumph. He coached a team packed with home-grown talent that beat AC Milan 1-0 in the final to win Europe’s top club competition.

He also has coached top clubs including Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Manchester United and had three stints coaching the Netherlands national team, most recently at the World Cup in Qatar.

Van Gaal led the Netherlands to the quarterfinals in Qatar last year, where his team lost to Lionel Messi’s Argentina, who went on to win the title. After the ill-tempered match was decided by a penalty shootout, Van Gaal said it was his “very last match.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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