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  Tuesday, 28 January, 2003, 10:38 GMT
Van Gaal leaves Barca
Barcelona coach Louis van Gaal
Van Gaal is in his second spell at Barcelona
Louis van Gaal has confirmed that he has reached an agreement with Barcelona to terminate his contract.

The 51-year-old former Dutch national coach said he had agreed a severance deal with the Catalan outfit.

"After reflecting on the recent performances of the club and speaking with Barcelona president Joan Gaspart we have decided that it is in the best interests of the club that we go our separate ways," said Van Gaal.

"I am really upset that as a coach I haven't lived up to the expectations of the Barcelona fans," he added.

Barcelona general director Xavier Perez Farguell revealed that Van Gaal would be leaving the Nou Camp following a two-hour meeting of the club's board of directors on Monday.

Van Gaal factfile
Ajax (1991-1997)Wins European Cup, Uefa Cup, European Supercup, Dutch league three times and cup twice
Barcelona (1997-2000): European Supercup, Spanish league and Copa Del Rey claimed in first season and league retained in his second.
Holland (2000-2001): Fail to qualify for World Cup for first time since 1996.
Barcelona (2002-2003): Win 10 successive Champions League games but slip to 12th in league

Barcelona treasurer Ramon Salabert said earlier on Monday that Van Gaal's dismissal would cost the club four million euros in compensation.

The Dutchman's contract was due to run until June 2005.

Van Gaal, who is in his second spell with the club, had come under increasing pressure after a poor run of results.

The situation intensified after Barca's latest defeat - a 2-0 reverse against Celta Vigo on Sunday which left them 20 points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad.

Van Gaal led Barcelona to league titles in the first two seasons of his original tenure at the Nou Camp from 1997 to 2000.

Since the Dutchman's return, the club have won a record-equalling 10 successive Champions League games but slipped to 12th place in La Liga, just three points above the relegation zone.

One of his first decisions on his return was to force Brazilian striker Rivaldo out.

Juan Roman Riquelme arrived as a replacement but, along with Van Gaal's other signings, Spanish midfielder Gaizka Mendieta and German goalkeeper Robert Enke, he disappointed.

Carlos Rexach, whom Van Gaal succeeded for his second spell at Barca, could now take over at the Nou Camp in a caretaker capacity.

Graham Hunter reports for BBC Sport
"Van Gaal has coached his last game for Barcelona"
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Louis van Gaal's departure from Barcelona marks the latest chapter in potentially the club's worst season in more than half a century
Nou Camp in crisis

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