Robin van Persie revealed that former Holland manager Louis van Gaal slapped him during the 2014 World Cup after he refused to come off the pitch with cramp.
In the quarter-final against the tournament's surprise package Costa Rica, the match went to extra-time after a goalless 90 minutes. At the beginning of the added 30 minutes, van Persie pulled up with cramp and van Gaal, who was manager at the time, shouted that he was going to take him off.
The former Manchester United striker refused to leave the field as he insisted he will take a penalty if the match went to shoot-out and he struggled through the final 20 minutes.
After 120 minutes without a goal, the Dutch huddled up as they prepared their order for the shootout that van Persie would be part of, but he received a whack round the head from van Gaal before he could focus.
'When the match was finished and we gathered near the touchline, he got close to me and suddenly hit me,' van Persie explains in the book 'LVG – The Manager and the Total Person'.
'Bang! With a big flat hand he dealt me a blow and said in an angry way 'don't ever do that to me again.'
'I looked at him absolutely stunned. Louis said 'just get on with it and make sure you get it in the net from the spot.'
Holland won the shoot-out 4-3 against Costa Rica after van Gaal made the bold call to sub on Newcastle United goalkeeper Tim Krul just before the final whistle. The stopper made two huge saves as Holland advanced to the final four.
After the tournament, van Gaal accepted the manager's job at Old Trafford and paired up with van Persie yet again.