Match Rewind: Vote for Ruud's best hat-trick

On the final weekend before the Premier League's long-awaited resumption, 'Match Rewind' continues, as we try to fill the hours until Manchester United's return.

Each week during the 2019/20 season's interruption, we've been asking you to vote for which of four classic matches you'd like to see again in full. The most popular choice is then streamed via the ManUtd.com homepage and our Official App.
 
This time we're basking in the exploits of one of our greatest strikers, Ruud van Nistelrooy. Only Tommy Taylor has a better scoring ratio for the Reds than the great Dutchman, who is 11th on our all-time list of most prolific goalscorers.
 
He had many outstanding games in the shirt, but which of his goal-plundering masterclasses do you most want to see again? Read on to find out about the choices on offer, and then be sure to cast your vote...
 
UNITED 6 SOUTHAMPTON 1 (2001/02)
 
This drubbing of the Saints – then managed by former United midfielder Gordon Strachan – was a special day for Ruud, bringing the first of the six hat-tricks he scored during his time at the club. And, as if to underline his pure lust for goals, the Dutchman didn't waste any time getting going on this day at Old Trafford.
Ruud puts the Saints to the sword on the way to his first hat-trick for the club.
Within 31 seconds, he'd notched his first, blasting home a glorious Paul Scholes pass from the left flank. Then he scrambled home a second after a corner just after the half-hour mark. On 53 minutes, he applied another exquisite finish to a Scholes set-up, this time using the outside of his lethal right foot. That made it 4-0 to United, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have also netted during a rampant first 45 minutes. Goals from Roy Keane and Phil Neville would complete the mauling, with Marian Pahars nicking a solitary goal for the visitors.
 
UNITED 5 NEWCASTLE 3 (2002/03)
 
Alan Shearer fired home his 100th Premier League goal for Newcastle during this match, but our beloved Dutchman took all the plaudits in the newspapers, notching his 50th United goal (in just his 67th game!) as part of another hat-trick. United had just lost the final Manchester derby at Maine Road, and been held at Upton Park, and, with our next fixtures reading Newcastle, Liverpool and Arsenal, the vultures were circling, eager to sound the death knell for the Reds' title ambitions.
But before an hour on the clock, Sir Alex Ferguson's men had scored five to put the game beyond doubt. Scholes began the fun with a trademark strike from the edge of the box, before Ruud nodded home a deflected Mikael Silvestre cross to put us ahead for a second time, after Olivier Bernard had levelled for the Magpies. On the stroke of half-time, van Nistelrooy tapped home a miscued Diego Forlan shot to give us breathing space, and shortly after the break, he again combined with the Uruguayan to score our fourth. Solskjaer made it five two minutes later, rendering the Toon's two second-half goals, from Shearer and Craig Bellamy, redundant. 
 
UNITED 3 FULHAM 0 (2002/03)
 
One of Ruud's finest performances brought a moment that many fans who were in attendance will remember for a very long time. Arguably his best United goal arrived in this clash, as the second act in his third hat-trick for the club. 
His first was simple enough – drilled home from the penalty spot – but the next was anything but. Van Nistelrooy was famous for scoring goals from inside the box and did so again here but, this time, he'd carried the ball all the way from his own half before applying the more traditional close-range finish. It was about as direct as you can get: receive possession, run with ball, put straight into the net. But few run past half an opposition team to achieve the effect. Ruud received a standing ovation from the crowd once the cheers had settled down. Inevitably, he added a third just before the final whistle to finish off a stunning individual day at the office.
 
UNITED 4 SPARTA PRAGUE 1 (04/05)
 
A sixth and final Ruud hat-trick in Red came in the Champions League, at home to Sparta Prague. Wayne Rooney had taken the limelight on Old Trafford's last European matchday, smashing three on his own United debut, against Fenerbahce, but his senior strike partner more than reasserted himself here.
 
This was the only occasion Ruud scored four times for the Reds, and he could rarely have negotiated a set of easier finishes. The first was offered on a plate by a careless back-pass; the second from the spot. The third was the pick: latching onto an aerial pass, he expertly poked the ball over the goalkeeper, precisely ensuring the finish dropped under the bar and trickled in. Finally, he tapped home the late Liam Miller's dangerous low cross from the right-hand side. Simply one of our greatest marksmen doing what he did best, on the way to a remarkable 150 goals in 219 United games.
Ruud is congratulated by new team-mate Wayne Rooney while netting four against the Czechs.
HOW TO VOTE
 
You can select which of the four matches you want to see by voting in our Match Rewind live blog.
 
The vote closes at 16:00 BST on Saturday (13 June) and we’ll show the winning game in full, and for free, on the Official App and ManUtd.com at 19:00 BST later that evening.
 
Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on ManUtd.com. Download the Official App here.

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