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Featured Image Credit: YouTube
United icon Sir Alex Ferguson made an initial attempt to sign the 45-year-old legendary Dutchman from PSV Eindhoven in 2000 for £18.5m.
The Red Devils’ deal for Van Nistelrooy was scuppered after PSV refused to agree to further medical tests, with concerns raised over the United cult hero’s fitness.
Ferguson, 80, waited until 2001 before United pushed through a deal for the former PSV striker, with the Red Devils spending a then-British record transfer fee of £19m.
Van Nistelrooy rewarded the 80-year-old legendary Scotsman’s patient wait to sign him, with the former United star showing his clinical finishing in the final third.
The United legend scored an incredible 150 times in 219 appearances during his prolific five seasons at Old Trafford.
Fans were quick to express their fondness and admiration for Van Nistelrooy, with one supporter calling him the “best centre-forward I've ever seen in a Man United shirt.”
“Legend. Ruud ‘Ruthless’ van Nistelrooy. Probably one of our best strikers hands down. GGMU,” one YouTube commenter posted.
Another added: “His first touch was immaculate, he never seemed to miss once he’d got a chance.”
While a third wrote: “The best centre-forward I’ve ever seen in a Man United shirt.”
Someone else said: “Most clinical finisher at United since Denis Law, absolutely lethal.”
And a fifth added: “He made me love football and become a die-hard Man Utd fan.”
Van Nistelrooy lifted a Premier League title, FA Cup and League Cup under Ferguson before his unceremonious exit from Old Trafford.
The former Netherlands international’s relationship with Ferguson worsened amid a heated training session spat with United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
Van Nistelrooy, who later made amends with the legendary former United manager, left the Red Devils in 2006 to sign for Real Madrid.
He would play for Hamburger and Malaga before calling it time on his remarkable football career in 2012.