Profile: Ruud Van Nistelrooy

Ruud van Nistelrooy
© PA Photos
Sports Mole profiles the career of Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

Following Netherlands striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy's decision to retire from professional football, Sports Mole has profiled one of the finest strikers to ever play the game.

The 35-year-old began his professional career in Holland with Den Bosch, where he was coverted from a central midfielder to a striker, before moves to Heerenveen and PSV Eindhoven, where he quickly attracted the interest of a number of European clubs.

He secured the Golden Boot in Holland during the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons, and came close to joining Manchester United in 2000 before he ruptured cruciate knee ligaments during a training session with PSV.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson kept faith in the forward, however, and secured the hitman on a five-year contract for £19m in 2001. He scored a sensational 150 goals in 219 appearances in England, and won the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and FA Community Shield during his time at the club.

He fell out of favour at Old Trafford, however, and joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2006, scoring 53 goals in two seasons as Madrid captured back-to-back La Liga titles.

Injuries took their toll on the Dutchman, however, and he missed the entire 2008-09 season, eventually leaving to join Hamburg in January 2010, where he scored 17 goals in 44 appearances for the German club.

He arrived at Malaga on a one-year contract last summer, but managed just five goals in 32 matches for the Spanish outfit.

Van Nistelrooy also bagged 35 goals in 70 international appearances for Holland, including crucial strikes at Euro 2004, World Cup 2006 and Euro 2008.

He remains the second highest all-time goalscorer in the Champions League with 54 goals in 81 appearances.

He brought down his illustrious career in Malaga's 1-0 win over Sporting Gijon on May 13, a club career which has seen him score 347 goals in 589 appearances across four nations.

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