Former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy announces retirement

 

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 today: "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.

PA

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
news
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
Brendan Rodgers looks on from the touchline
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick