VAN NISTELROOY CALLS IT QUITS

Malaga striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35.

Last Updated: 14/05/12 at 13:31 Post Comment

Ruud van Nistelrooy: This is the moment to leave

Ruud van Nistelrooy: This is the moment to leave

Malaga striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has announced his retirement from football at the age of 35.

The former Holland international has suffered a difficult year since arriving in the south of Spain from Hamburg last summer, scoring just five times in 32 appearances.

However, he did help guide Malaga to their first ever top-four finish and thereby ensure Champions League football for the first time in their history.

Van Nistelrooy told a press conference on Sunday: "Yesterday was my final game as a professional footballer. I wanted to play in the Champions League, but it is the moment to leave.

"I have arrived at my physical limit and I can't play at the maximum level. I couldn't have had a better send-off than this.

"I feel happy that I am the one taking this decision. I would like to thank Malaga, the technical and medical staff for an unforgettable year.

"I am proud to have won collective and individual titles, but my greatest satisfaction was to be able to work day after day, year after year."

Van Nistelrooy also paid tribute to those people who supported him during his career, which included spells with PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United and Real Madrid.

"I would like to thank Malaga, my team-mates, the coaches, the physios, (sporting director) Antonio Fernandez, Fernando Hierro and the fans for this unforgettable year," said the Dutchman.

"I would also like to thank the fans of Den Bosch, Heerenveen, PSV, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Hamburg."

Van Nistelrooy's career began in his homeland with Den Bosch before moves to Heerenveen and PSV Eindhoven, where he made his name.

After securing the Eredivisie Golden Boot in both the 1998/99 and 1999/2000 seasons, he seemed set to join Manchester United in a near £19 million move.

However, United called off the transfer due to fitness concerns and within days Van Nistelrooy ruptured cruciate knee ligaments during a training session.

That injury did not dissuade United manager Sir Alex Ferguson though, as he went back for Van Nistelrooy the following summer and was duly rewarded as the striker delivered 150 goals in 219 games in his five seasons in Manchester and guided them to the title in 2002/03.

However, Van Nistelrooy's time in north-west England ended when he fell down the pecking order and was snapped up by Real Madrid in the summer of 2006.

He hit the ground running in the Spanish capital as 53 goals in two seasons saw Real capture back-to-back Primera Division titles.

But once again injuries took their toll as he missed almost the entire 2008/09 campaign with a meniscus problem and then found himself behind Raul, Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema the following season.

An 18-month spell at Hamburg followed before returning to Spain and Malaga for his final season as a professional.

Van Nistelrooy also bagged 35 goals in 70 international appearances for Holland, including strikes at Euro 2004, World Cup 2006 and Euro 2008 and is the second highest all-time goalscorer in the Champions League with 54 from 81 appearances.

His final appearance for Malaga resulted in a 1-0 victory over Sporting Gijon.

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Readers' Comments

I

worry about these types of conclusions on a teams brilliance when it was very clear that Argentina had 4 chances where they really should have scored and on chances alone then it would have been the more pragmatic Argentinians who would be the best in the world. I like the Germany team but this just shows that even with planning it relies on a great deal of luck and finding your opponents at just the right time.

dryice
Reward At Last For Years Of Careful Planning

W

e all know the British public don't have the patience to plan for 14 years. No chance. As soon as our young players don't win the world cup they get harrassed and abused to the point of mental breakdown. No, England likes to react to failure by sacking the manager and tearing up their best laid plans in favour of something shiny and new to keep the knee jerkers happy.

HarryBoulton
Reward At Last For Years Of Careful Planning

G

lad Messi was player of the tournament, there was no-one more deserving. Except Robben. And James Rodriguez. Or Muller and half the Germany team etc etc

sailingmagpie
Golden Ball award for Messi

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