Revealed: The Argument With Ronaldo That Ended Van Nistelrooy’s United Career

Cristiano Ronaldo (L) celebrates with Wayne Rooney after scoring during their Champions League soccer match.

REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

Ruud van Nistelrooy easily sits amongst the most prolific strikers in Manchester United’s history, but his career in England was cut short by a young Cristiano Ronaldo, following a training ground bust-up.

The Dutchman was no stranger to the goal during his time at Old Trafford, scoring an impressive 95 times in 150 appearances for the Mancunians. Van Nistelrooy led the United attack back then, alongside a young duo of Rooney and Ronaldo.

However, the United legend was involved in a argument with the Portuguese on a personal level, which eventually led to his departure from Manchester.

The story was revealed by Alastair Campbell, a close friend of Sir Alex Ferguson, in his recently published diaries. In it, he explained how van Nistelrooy’s comments on Ronaldo’s deceased father became the last straw he pulled before the exit door was shown to him by the Scot.

“The last straw was when he told Cristiano Ronaldo he had found a new dad in Carlos [Queiroz, Ferguson’s assistant] just after Ronaldo’s dad, who was an alcoholic, had died,” Campbell revealed (via Times).

REUTERS/Ferran Paredes

“Carlos asked him to show respect and he said he didn’t respect anyone there. He later apologised, but CR [Ronaldo] was not having it. Alex sent Van Nistlerooy home when he heard about it later. He was not sure what he was going to do with him,” added the former Labour communications chief.

The situation eventually aggravated to a point where the former United boss had no other option but to let go of the striker as soon as he could to avoid further animosity in the dressing room. Adding to that, the former Los Blancos man seemed very self-centered and out of control to the manager, according to Campbell.

Consequently, the Dutch international was sold to Real Madrid the following summer, despite being a huge fan-favourite amongst the Old Trafford​ faithful.

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Written by Ashish Sreejith 

Have had two addictions in life- playing football and watching football. Usually described as introverted but not when it comes to speaking and writing about the beautiful game of football.


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