Man Utd icon Rio Ferdinand says he almost came to blows with Van Nistelrooy over rough treatment of Cristiano Ronaldo

RIO FERDINAND has revealed how he nearly came to blows with Ruud van Nistelrooy over his treatment of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo linked up with Van Nistelrooy when he moved to Manchester United in 2003, but the pair would not win the Premier League together before the Dutchman departed three years later.

And Ferdinand has now opened up about how he nearly had an altercation with Van Nistelrooy because of the way he spoke to the budding Portuguese superstar.

Speaking on his YouTube channel FIVE, he said: “It was mad at United, things could just switch just like that [clicks fingers] in training. I think all training grounds are the same, there’s a lot of testosterone flying about.

“It never really got to that. It’s funny, because I’ve got the biggest mouth on the training ground. I used to always be shouting and screaming and I used to love jokes.

“Obviously I got serious in training, with the games and that, especially on a Friday before the game on a Saturday, everyone’s playing, it would be hard games, fast games.

“One time something happened with Ruud. Ruud van Nistelrooy smashed Cristiano Ronaldo a couple of times, went down his Achilles.

“And then the ball went into Ruud and I smashed Ruud. I said, ‘What you doing? Why you kicking him?’

“And then Ruud got up and he was [not happy] and all the players just got in the way, so nothing happened.

“But that’s the way it used to be in training. I was thinking, 'Ronnie’s a young kid man, leave him alone, what you doing?' But Ruud was an animal, an animal player.


"He’s the best finisher I played with. Brutal finisher. If he’d stayed at United he’d have broken every record going, he was a joke.

“We’d play a game, we’d win 4-1, but he didn’t score, he’s in the training room after and he looked emotional. I thought, ‘Wow, this guy cares that we won this much, Ruud’s my guy’. I asked him if he was alright, he goes ‘I didn’t score! I didn’t score!’ He was vexed!

“To put the nail in the coffin, Thierry Henry scored two on the same day so the Golden Boot was going away. He was fuming. He was so driven to score, he was born to just score.”

Van Nistelrooy netted 150 goals in 219 appearances for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 games for the Red Devils before going on to establish his legacy at Real Madrid.

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