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Ruud van Nistelrooy picked ‘special’ ex-teammate as ‘best-ever’ player he played alongside, there was no doubting

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Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy revealed the “best-ever” player he played alongside in his prolific playing career and was in awe at his “special skills.”

Ruud van Nistelrooy had an illustrious playing career at Old Trafford and the former Manchester United star is considered one of the best strikers of all time.

Former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson brought Van Nistelrooy to the Premier League club after he was snapped up from Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.

Sir Alex Ferguson had to wait until 2001 to sign the 47­-year-old former United striker after his move to Old Trafford in 2000 collapsed due to a failed medical.

Van Nistelrooy, who was signed for a then-British record transfer fee of £19m, became a fan favourite at United and was a lethal strike option for Ferguson.

He scored an impressive 150 times in 219 appearances for the Red Devils, with the United legend lifting a Premier League title, an FA Cup and a League Cup.

Van Nistelrooy’s legendary spell at Old Trafford came to an end in 2006 after his falling out with legendary former Red Devils boss Ferguson.

READ MORE: Ruud van Nistelrooy identified ‘very strong’ striker as player who resembled his style, he even played for Man Utd

Head Coach Ruud van Nistelrooij of PSV looks on during the Eredivisie match between PSV and sc Heerenveen at Philips Stadion on May 21, 2023 in Ein...

Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Ruud van Nistelrooy signed for Real Madrid after his spell at Manchester United, with Los Blancos paying a reported £10.2m fee to sign him at the time.

The former United and Netherlands striker scored 64 times in 96 appearances for the Spanish side, with the Dutchman lifting two La Liga titles at the club.

Van Nistelrooy shared the pitch at Madrid with a roster of talented players, including fellow United legend David Beckham, Sergio Ramos, Iker Casillas and Ronaldo.

The United legend was out of favour at Los Blancos towards the end of his spell and left the club in 2010, with Van Nistelrooy signing for German side Hamburger.

Van Nistelrooy, who later moved to Malaga in 2011 before retiring in 2012, admitted that Brazil legend Ronaldo was without question the best player he played alongside.

“The best player I played with was at Real Madrid. Ronaldo ‘O Fenomeno’ [of] Brazil,” he told UEFA in 2017.

“Fantastic player, what special skills he had and especially the kind of guy he is too. So, for me, the best ever.”

Ronaldo is widely regarded as one of the best strikers of all time and was part of the famed Galacticos era at Madrid under club president Florentino Perez.

The 47-year-old Brazil legend had a prolific playing career at both club level and on the international stage, with Ronaldo lifting two coveted Ballon d’Or awards.

READ MORE: Ruud van Nistelrooy asked who was his favourite Man Utd player to play alongside, there was one clear winner for him

Ferguson turned down signing of Ronaldo

Ronaldo had a magnificent spell at the Camp Nou after he was signed from PSV Eindhoven in 1996, only to make his sensational exit from the club in 1997.

Inter Milan smashed the world-record transfer fee at the time to sign the two-time Ballon d’Or winner, despite interest from United at the time.

Ronaldo scored an impressive 59 times in 99 appearances for the Serie A outfit, but the former Brazil international’s spell was infamously plagued with injuries.

United legend Ferguson admitted that he had the chance to sign the two-time World Cup winner in the 1990s, but he was stunned by the asking fee for Ronaldo.

Speaking in his book ‘A Will to Win: The Manager’s Diary’ (about the 1996-97 season), he said: “Ronaldo’s agent asked me a little while ago if I would be interested in the player.

“My first reaction was to wonder why Barcelona would sell such an important player after paying £13m for him only last July.

“The agent said that there was no problem; there was a clause in his contract that allowed him to move if an offer came in above a certain sum.

“He told me I wouldn’t even have to talk to the club. I could go straight to the Spanish FA.

“So then I asked him about money. I soon told him he was talking to the wrong guy, and that he should go and see the chairman and frighten the life out of him, not me!

“It transpired that the fee would be around $32m, with a salary of $4m a year. We are talking here about a £20m transfer fee plus a pay packet of well over £2m a year.”

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