Gary Neville has revealed that Ruud van Nistelrooy left him in disbelief during his first Manchester United training session.
The Dutch striker joined the Red Devils from PSV Eindhoven in an £18.5million deal in 2001, 12 months later than planned following a serious ACL injury, before going on to become a club legend.
The former United forward hit an astonishing 150 goals in 219 games during his five-year stay in Manchester, establishing himself as one of the most clinical goal-getters in world football.
Despite admitting that he didn’t know too much about Van Nistelrooy prior to his Old Trafford arrival, Neville has since revealed that it didn’t take long for the former United frontman to make his mark.
“One I didn’t know but we spent a lot of money on was Ruud van Nistelrooy,” Neville revealed to Sky Sports during a transfer special.
“The first time I watched him in training, he did a shooting session and hit one and I went, ‘woah, you can’t kick a ball like that’.
“Sometimes you see things in training and just think to yourself, ‘that’s a proper player’.
“That was Ruud. He was the one who I didn’t know beforehand that I looked at straightaway in training and thought he was unbelievable.”
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Van Nistelrooy was one of a number of players to have crossed Sir Alex Ferguson down the years and, after falling out of favour at Old Trafford, left United for Real Madrid at the age of 30 in the summer of 2006 in a £11m deal.
The Dutchman was one of two former team-mates Neville named as players who he knew were “certainties” to succeed at United, with the other being Wayne Rooney.
“There were two certainties,” the Sky Sports pundit revealed.
“The other one, who I already knew, was Wayne Rooney. It wasn’t even a risk, you just knew he would be absolutely unbelievable.
“Even though we had to wait for him to make his debut because he was injured, I never thought it would be a risk.”