Ruud van Nistelrooy remains one of the most prolific strikers to ever grace European football, but his time at Manchester United is storied as being slightly stained.
The Dutchman left Manchester United in 2006 under poor circumstances, but the exact reason was unknown until now.
Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's ex-communications chief and former Labour Party spin doctor, has spilled the beans in his latest batch of diaries (H/T The Sunday Times).
Campbell was quite close to Sir Alex Ferguson back then, and revealed that the former United boss decided to let Van Nistelrooy go following various incidents, with the most grave coming in the form of an offensive remark regarding Cristiano Ronaldo.
Having met with Ferguson in France that year, Campbell claimed that the manager was “not sure what was going to happen with Ruud van Nistelrooy.
"[He was] very self-centred. 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.
“Carlos asked him to show respect and he said he didn’t respect anyone there. He later apologised but CR was not having it.
"Alex sent van Nistelrooy home when he heard about it later. He was not sure what he was going to do with him.”
The striker would leave for Real Madrid, where he would spend the next four years of his career. He did play one season with Ronaldo at Madrid before moving to Hamburger SV in 2010.
Van Nistelrooy bagged 150 goals during his five years at Old Trafford, and will always be regarded as a legend over there despite the circumstances under which he left the club.