A prolific goal-getter, Ruud van Nistelrooy’s scoring exploits at Old Trafford have safeguarded his place in United folklore.
The Dutchman struck 100 goals in his first three seasons in Manchester. He overtook United legend Denis Law’s title as the club's all-time top scorer in European competition in his fourth term, and by the end of his fifth year at Old Trafford he’d reached 150 goals in fewer than 200 starts.
United initially had to be patient to get their man, however. Ruud marked his 22nd birthday by signing for PSV Eindhoven from Heerenveen for £4.2million, a then record fee between Dutch clubs.
His first league goal for PSV came against his former club in August 1998, and his international debut for Holland followed in November that year in a 1-1 draw with Germany. In two seasons Ruud notched 60 goals for PSV, alerting Europe’s top clubs, including United and Real Madrid.
Sir Alex was determined to sign van Nistelrooy. So much so, he kept in contact with the player for a year as he recovered from the cruciate knee ligament injury Ruud suffered whilst training with PSV. The setback came days after failing a medical with United in April 2000. After a remarkable recovery, he finally signed for the Reds on 23 April 2001 for £19m.