Louis Van Gaal is known for being a maverick – with the legendary Dutch football manager having had a range of funny moments to complement his huge success.

From saying he wants his players to be more “horny”, to breaking his leg while attending a college reunion, and hilariously falling to the ground while protesting a foul, Van Gaal has always entertained.

One such funny story comes from his time at Bayern Munich, where Van Gaal wanted to show his team that he wasn’t afraid of dropping star players. In doing so, he decided to drop his own pants. This article recalls this crazy story!

Another of Van Gaal’s priceless moments!


This event comes in September 2009, when Van Gaal was managing German giants FC Bayern Munich. Van Gaal had been hired in the summer – arriving with a stellar footballing CV.

Van Gaal was clearly keen to exert his authority on his new players. With several big-name players in the squad, Van Gaal was forced to leave some players out.

No player likes to be left on the sidelines. This is especially the case with players that are used to playing week-in, week-out.

Luca Toni and Van Gaal

One such player that found himself dropped was Luca Toni – who had scored 38 goals in 56 Bundesliga games in the previous two seasons.

However, on a pre-season training camp, the duo first had issues. Toni told reporters that he was once slouching on his chair during dinner, which led to Van Gaal believing he was rude – resulting in him pulling Toni up by the ears to make him sit up straight.

With Toni coming back to full fitness following an Achilles Tendon injury sustained prior to the start of the season, Van Gaal opted to play him for FC Bayern II – akin to an Under 21 side in England.

Van Gaal dropping his pants

Toni explained that Van Gaal treats players “like interchangeable objects”. Moreover, Toni said that Van Gaal wanted to make it clear “that he can drop any player”, because, as Van Gaal said, “he had the balls” to do so.

Toni says that Van Gaal decided to physically demonstrate this – in a move that Toni described as “totally crazy”. One morsel of consolation is that Toni “didn’t see a lot”, as he wasn’t in the front row.

As Toni says – Van Gaal looked to lay down the law to his side, and decided to show that he (quite literally) had the balls to drop any player at any time.

The act apparently shocked the playing squad. Club captain Mark van Bommel was playing that day, and later spoke of the incident.

Van Bommel said that Van Gaal “was searching for the right words and his explanation was that he doesn’t change for change’s sake”. But being unable to get this message across, Van Gaal decided to go for the literal approach – dropping his pants to show that he has the balls to make such decisions.

Van Bommel later said that the squad found it hilarious. Initially, it caused some shock, but it seemed to work for the big-name players.

What happened next?

Toni was reprimanded after he left the stadium early in November 2009, after being substituted at halftime in a match with Schalke 04.

Van Gaal and Toni’s relationship broke down, resulting in Toni leaving the club on loan in January, where he signed with AS Roma.

Toni’s contract was terminated at the end of the season. He went onto play for four other Italian clubs, before hanging up his boots in 2016. He finished his career with 324 goals for club and country.

FC Bayern won the Bundesliga that season, with Van Gaal’s side going onto win the DFB-Pokal too. Unfortunately, they finished as runner-ups in the Champions League – having lost in the final to Inter Milan.

The Takeaway

Van Gaal is a legendary manager. He is one of the most successful coaches of all time, and the funny stories and moments that have accompanied his career have been great.

Van Gaal’s methods certainly worked at Bayern. His players will no doubt remember him – hopefully for more reasons than the image etched in their minds from Van Gaal dropping his pants…