The Holy Trinity of Manchester United George Best, Sir Bobby Charlton, and Dennis Law record had been broken respectively by the United players. George Best record as the most goal scored by a winger had been broken by Christiano Ronaldo, Sir Bobby Charlton record of most appearance and most goals scored had been broken by Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney respectively. But one record of the Holy Trinity is still intact and that is the record of 46 goals in a season scored by Dennis Law and the only person who had come near to breaking the record is one of the deadliest strikers that the Premier League had witnessed. When he scored goals, the name Ruud will be echoed around Old Trafford. He is nonother than Ruud Van Nistelrooy(RVN) the deadliest striker that United had witnessed since Dennis Law.

The Holy Trinity of United statue from left George Best, Dennis Law, and Sir Bobby Charlton

Although he had started his club career with Dutch second division Den Bosch in 1993 where he was converted from a central midfielder to a center forward, he really makes his name as an upcoming deadliest striker in Europe when he had moved to PSV Eindhoven in 1998. During this time with PSV Eindhoven, he had scored 31 goals from 34 games making him the highest goal scorer in Eredivisie season and also the second highest in Europe. The lucky club that had signed him is Manchester United who was under Sir Alex Ferguson at that time for a fee of £18.5 in 2000, however, a knee ligament injury had postponed the transfer and in 2001 Manchester United finally had their man.

A player that had made their name with another league in Europe like Andrei Shevchenko, Hernan Crespo, Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Juan Sebastian Veron and many other unable to perform to their expected level in the Premier League due to the style of play that is different but not RVN. Like Lukaku who had scored 2 goals in his debut, RVN also had scored 2 goals in his Premier League debut against Fulham and he had scored his first United European goal against Deportivo La Coruna.

From then on, the goals just kept on coming for RVN from every angle header, tap in, volley, chip, and lobbed goals. His penalty was absolutely devastating. RVN had a habit of scoring penalty by blasting the ball on the left-hand side of the goals and rarely change the side. The goalkeeper will able to predict where RVN will hit the ball but unable to save it due to power and accuracy of his shots. In total, he had scored 36 goals for United but unfortunately, United was left empty handed as they were overthrown as the Premier League champion by Arsenal and had been knocked out in European semi-final by Bayern Leverkusen.

In this second season 2002-2003, RVN had been told as “found out” by the Bolton Wanderers managers at the time Sam Allardyce but in this season the Premier League had witnessed one of the best performance by a striker. He had upped his performance from the last season to an incredible level in this season. The highlights of his incredible performance are the brilliant backheel goals against Blackburn, scoring from an acute angle against FC Basel in the second-round group stages, run and dribble from the middle of the field to score one of the memorable goals witnessed in Old Trafford against Fulham and much more. However, his incredible goal tally unable to help United in the UEFA Champions League as they had been knocked out by Real Madrid in the Quarter Final. However, in Premier League, his incredible goal scoring feat had helped United to secure the Premier League title against Arsenal which looked impossible when United are trailing Arsenal by eight points. In total, he had scored a total of 44 goals, become the first player to reach the 10 goals barrier mark in UEFA Champion League when he had scored 12 goals, and scored in 10 consecutive games a Premier League record that had been broken by Jamie Vardy in the 2015-2016 season.


Unfortunately, after this season, he is unable to perform majestically and he is down in pecking order with the arrival of Louis Saha, Wayne Rooney and Christiano Ronaldo adding with the departure of David Beckham to Real Madrid. And in 2006 season, he had moved to Real Madrid due to a training session row with Sir Alex Ferguson that involves the young Christiano Ronaldo. While he was with United, he had scored 150 goals in 219 appearances and become the second highest top scorer for United in Europe with 38 goals behind Wayne Rooney.

For United, RVN is more than a goal scorer. His United career was sandwiched between the post treble era and pre-Christiano Ronaldo era. In both of this era, United had won the UEFA Champion League something that is not achieved by RVN. However, his arrival is far more significant for Sir Alex Ferguson. Before the signing of RVN, Sir Alex Ferguson prefers to play with 2 strikers but however since the treble winning team of 1999, opponents had found a way to counter the threat of Sir Alex Ferguson attacking style and hence this is one of the reasons on why his team were knocked out from the competition in following season by Real Madrid.

RVN is the perfect man for Fergie to play with one striker in Europe and since then he had successfully transformed United style of play in Europe from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 that can be reverted to 4-5-1 when defending. Since then Fergie had played with the 4-3-3,4-3-2-1 or 4-5-1 formation in Europe and totally abandoned the cavalier attacking approach and instead prefer the patient approach in Europe. The arrival of Jose Mourinho also changed Fergie style of play in the Premier League too.

When speaking about the United greatest player under Six Alex Ferguson, the name of Christiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Waye Rooney , David Beckham , Paul Scholes but RVN although still mentioned ,he is down in the pecking order however his arrival is the start of Fergie changing his style of play to 4-3-3 in the Premier League and in Europe. RVN also is one of the deadliest strikers that been witnessed in the Premier League alongside with Thierry Henry but however, his goal scoring ratio is far better than Henry and he is the deadliest striker for United since Dennis Law.


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