RUUD VAN NISTELROOY
Born on: 1 July
Nistelrooy signed for the Red Devils for the season 01/02. Exactly after a
year his proposed transfer to United collapsed in May 2000, van Nistelrooy
finally completed the move to the English champions for a record fee of 19
million pounds, thus being the most costly forward in the Premiership. van
Nistelrooy joined Manchester United with a reputation as one of the most
prolific strikers in the game and some even said he was 'the next Van
With his impressive record at PSV, van Nistelrooy caught the eye of many big name clubs, including Real Madrid and Juventus. But in May 2000, Manchester United swooped for him with an 18.5 million offer. However United decided to put the deal on hold until the player could pass a medical, since he was recovering from an operation to his knee and he needed to prove his fitness.
A few days later, van Nistelrooy broke down in training with a cruciate ligament injury that called off the transfer deal, as the injury could even hamper his career. van Nistelrooy fought back though and following eight months on the sideline, returned to action for PSV, scoring twice on his return. Convinced that van Nistelrooy was still his man, Ferguson successfully persuaded United to sign him, making him the most expensive player in England, until United signed Juan Sebastian Veron for 28.1 million shortly after.
This deadly striker does also possess the ability to score goals with both feet and his head. Possessing remarkable body strength as well, he holds up the play tremendously well to wait for the support of his teammates. He looks to be a bargain buy for a world-class striker that United had been lacking over the years.
Bobby Robson, now manager of Newcastle, was at Eindhoven's Philips Stadium to assess the then 19-year-old van Nistelrooy for himself. He was impressed and told Martin Ferguson (brother of Sir Alex) to sign him. He said:
'van Nistelrooy will be an Old
Trafford legend over the years. He is a terrific player and he will get
even better here.
Season 02/03 Report - Ruud Awakening
Well after last season's disappointment, Ruud started the 02/03 season with unfamiliar problems of scoring from open play! His first 2 goals of the season was from penalties, after which he finally broke his duck by scoring with a header against Charlton. Another penalty against Everton took his tally to 4 goals, he hasn't scored much since as United struggled against Fulham, Villa, Man City without his goals. He was hampered by injuries, and United missed him badly. He recovered his touch by neatly flicking the ball over David James at West Ham, and showed his dazzling form was back with a second hat-trick for the Reds against Newcastle.
In the Champions League the single-handedly won United the 2nd group stage's opening game against Basel when he struck 2 goals in 2 minutes to put them 2-1 in front. This performance by Ruud was my personal favourite for this season, when a clinical header leveled the game and, let me describe the 2nd goal in DeTaiL. There didn't seem to be any danger when Ruud picked up the ball on the far left outside the penalty area, and advanced on the defender. Mesmerising footwork took him past the defender as he slipped, and with great balance and control he danced past the defender with Ronaldo-like dribbling, and found some space. He saw the gap from a seemingly impossible angle and fired the ball high into the far post with the goalkeeper helpless. In my opinion, this has every right to be the GOAL of the Champions League this season. Ruud awakening...
Season 01/02 - A season of goals for Ruud
van Nistelrooy's made his debut in a friendly on United's pre-season Asian tour and scored twice in the game against Malaysia. He also scored in the Charity Shield against Liverpool, and netted two goals in his Premiership debut against Fulham on the opening day at Old Trafford.
Despite playing the role of the lone striker upfront by Ferguson, van Nistelrooy has a good sense of anticipation of the game and is able to get into scoring positions. In the first game against Bayern Munich in the 2nd group stage, van Nistelrooy managed to sneak into the six yard box despite close marking to volley a cross past a helpless Kahn. The goal nearly was the match-winning goal but for Sergio's late equaliser. He had shown he is also strong in the air, having scored 2 goals with his head already (against Tottenham & Leicester).
van Nistelrooy notched his first hat-trick in just his 14th Premiership game, scoring the first goal after just 30 seconds against Southampton. He raced through the Saints' defence to thump a low right-foot shot past Paul Jones into the corner. His second goal was a strikers' tap-in, and he got his third after he rounded the keeper and flicked the ball under his body and into the net.
van Nistelrooy scored an incredible 9 goals (7 in the Premiership and 2 in the Champion's League) in December 2001 to lead United back towards the top of the Premier League, and has been named Barclaycard Premiership Player of the Month for December.
The new year 2002 came and van Nistelrooy is still in red-hot form, scoring the opening goal against Newcastle. Then in the FA Cup 4th round against Aston Villa he was again the hero when he came on as a substitute to bag 2 match-winning goals.The goal-scoring streak never stopped in the next two games against Southampton and Blackburn.
van Nistelrooy became the first player to score in eight consecutive Premier League games when he netted a penalty in first-half stoppage time against Blackburn at Old Trafford.
His scoring spree continued and scored an amazing 36 goals in all competitions for 49 appearances! Ruud van Nistelrooy has been named as the Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year in his first season with the Red Devils. The only major disappointment for him was the failure to bag any trophies despite his efforts. An Old Trafford favourite without a doubt.
Despite his heroics, he was unable to help the famous Reds to a single trophy as rival Arsenal clinched the domestic double. Nonetheless, a good start to his Old Trafford career.