Ruud van Nistelrooy and goals just go together. The Dutch striker enjoyed five seasons at Old Trafford, scoring a whopping 150 goals in 220 appearances before departing for Real Madrid and is amongst the finest strikers ever to don the red of Manchester United. Fans of The Red Devils still have a lot of love for Ruud and here’s why:
1. He avenged his previous miss and ended Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten run with this penalty. Emotional. Stick that in your pipe and sharply inhale it Martin Keown.
2. Exactly why you would decide to taunt one of the world’s most feared strikers if you’re a journeyman Andorran centre-back named Antoni Lima is unclear, but he got his comeuppance pretty quickly.
3. He taught a young Danny Welbeck everything he knows.
4. His first name is actually Rutgerus. Get your gums around that one.
5. The curled effort against Basel in the Champions League makes you question everything you were taught about angles at school. (Throw away your protractors, kids).
6. People said he was just a goal poacher or a goal hanger – then he produced moments like this.
7. He came up with these inspiring quotes. In the words of Dodgeball’s White Goodman – now he’s a philosophizer.
“Losing is not in my vocabulary.”
“People say it is part of the game. You win some, you lose some. But not for me.”
“Really, I can only be dangerous for the team in one place, and that is in the box.”
“When it comes to losing with United, I feel solely responsible for it. I can’t help it. My brain will work like mad after a defeat. I want to know where I have made the wrong decisions, how I could have changed things for this fantastic club.”
Where does he get these quotes from?
8. STAT ATTACK
Ruud van Nistelrooy is currently the joint third highest Champions League goal scorer of all time with Cristiano Ronaldo. His 60 UCL strikes have come at a rate of 0.74 goals per game and it’s taken him 22 fewer games to reach that total than the Portuguese superstar
9. He banged in this beauty during an exhibition match against Real Madrid. Still. Got. It.
10. Take your pick from these three outstanding nicknames:
The Ruud Devil – cracking word play
Van The Man – unimaginative yet classic
Van Gol – Ronseal edition
Van Nistel The Pistol – Cringe edition
11. He rates Roy Keane as the best player he played alongside.
“It is tough to pick out one, but for me it was Roy Keane. There were probably better players than him technically, but it was the way he led the team and the way he was as a person. On the pitch he was tremendous and all of those attributes combined made him, for me, the most special player that I played with.”