‘I pretended to cry to escape Barcelona – it was hell under Louis van Gaal’

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Former Barcelona forward Christophe Dugarry admits he pretended to cry so that he could leave Barcelona and says he ‘went through hell’ playing under Louis van Gaal.

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The ex-France international lasted just six months at Camp Nou and made only 13 appearances before leaving to join Marseille halfway through the season.

Dugarry, who was normally a forward, was played in a defensive midfield role by Van Gaal, and the 44-year-old claims he was forced to leave in order to secure his place for the World Cup in 1998.

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‘One time, we were in the dressing room. He [Van Gaal] took water bottles to mark out his tactics,’ Dugarry told SFR Sport.

‘He’d marked down on a sheet: ‘In the 23rd minute, you lost this ball. In the 48th minute, you lost the ball again. And in the 53rd minute, you lost another ball. Why did you do that?’ And I had to answer.

‘I spent six months asking myself what I was doing there. It was surreal. The worst thing was that I went to his office to ask to leave.

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‘I had to leave at any cost, and what’s more, [then-France manager Aime] Jacquet had said we had to be first-choice at our clubs on the first day of 1998.

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