PFA Players’ Player of the Year 2002: Ruud van Nistelrooy

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The Dutchman scored 150 goals in 219 appearances for Manchester United.

Ruud van Nistelrooy lost little time in making an effect in English football.

After making his long-awaited move to Manchester United from PSV Eindhoven in 2001– a transfer postponed by 12 months by a knee ligament injury– the Dutchman revealed why Sir Alex Ferguson had actually been so keen to bring him to Manchester, and why he stuck to him in spite of the injury issues.

Though his debut in the Charity Guard ended in a 2-1 loss to Liverpool, Van Nistelrooy got his name on the scoresheet at Wembley and it would soon end up being a familiar sight.

The very best of Ruud van Nistelrooy’s 9 5 #PL strikes for @ManUtd? #GoalOfTheDay pic.twitter.com/qbvU1m5MFQ

— Premier League (@premierleague) January 22, 2019

He scored two times on his Premier League debut– a 3-2 win over Fulham at Old Trafford, and bagged his first hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Southampton in December.

One of his best minutes was available in the 3rd round of the FA Cup 3rd round.

He began United’s tie against Aston Vacation Home on the bench due to issues over a groin stress, however with his side tracking 2-0 he changed Luke Chadwick and scored 2 fine goals in the space of 3 minutes to stimulate a turn-around as United came out 3-2 winners.

The goals were streaming in Europe too as Van Nistelrooy scored 10 in 14 Champions League appearances, adding to a first- season tally of 36 in 49 games for United, 23 of them being available in the Premier League.

Ruud van Nistelrooy (left) with the Expert Footballers Association Player of the Year trophy (Fiona Hanson/PA)

Though United might just handle 3rd location in the table, 10 points behind champions Arsenal, Van Nistelrooy’s effect was acknowledged as he beat Gunners duo Thierry Henry and Robert Pires to take the PFA Player of the Year award.

It was simply the start for Van Nistelrooy, who enhanced his goal tally the list below year to assist United claim the title, though maybe remarkably it would be the just league crown Van Nistelrooy would win during his 5 seasons at Old Trafford.

In the summer of 2006, having actually scored 150 goals in 219 appearances, Van Nistelrooy left United for Real Madrid in a 14 million euro offer.

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