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Ferguson ruled over United with an iron fist and one player he butted heads with constantly was prolific forward van Nistelrooy.
The Dutchman returned to the dressing room after a 3-1 loss to bitter rivals City in 2002, wearing a sky blue shirt.
"The City player had come up to him and swapped shirts.
"He [Ferguson] said, 'You do not give away one of those shirts. They're my shirts. They're this club's shirts, they're not your shirts. You're just wearing them temporarily. That's not your possession to give away.'
"He stopped us swapping shirts in domestic games.
"I think he said after that game, 'I should let the fans in here. I should let the fans come in here and speak to you.'"
While van Nistelrooy would enjoy another four years at Old Trafford after the incident, he became increasingly disruptive towards the end of his time in English football.
Ferguson had begun to focus on the young duo of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, with van Nistelrooy expressing his anger and claiming they couldn't lead United to glory.
"I had been thinking about it for a while and talking it through with my wife," he told Voetbal International.
"Two or three times every year, I would think to myself what a shame it was that it had ended like it did with Ferguson. I wanted to do something about it.
"My wife suggested I [send] Ferguson a text to see if he was willing to talk and when I sent him a message asking if I could ring him he replied to say: 'OK, call me at this date and time.'
"I rang him and he answered and said: 'OK, fine, go ahead.' I said I wanted to apologise for what had happened and he replied: 'Fine, I appreciate that, when we meet again it will be OK.' That was great to know."