As Ruud Van Nistelrooy last night blamed the death of his relationship with Alex Ferguson for his bitter departure from Old Trafford, his former manager was closing in on the signing of Michael Carrick from Tottenham Hotspur.
Van Nistelrooy was unveiled yesterday evening in-front of 2,000 Real Madrid fans at the Bernabeu stadium and the Dutch striker admitted he felt let down by the man who gave him the chance to rebuild his career after a serious knee injury.
The United winger Cristiano Ronaldo has spent the summer asking for a move away from Old Trafford but it has been the prolific Van Nistelrooy whom Ferguson has sold. The Dutch striker was asked whether he thought other players were supported while he received no backing. He replied: "I think that sums up my feelings entirely. I was disappointed, having given them such good service and scored so many goals for things to end that way.
"The relationship with the manager was over and that was painful because I owe him a lot. He gave me the chance to play at the highest level. The most important thing is the relationship with the manager. And that had gone so it was time to go."
The 30-year-old striker paid tribute to the clubs' fans, saying: "My affection for the supporters and everyone that works at the club remains. They were five of the most incredible years of my life and I will never forget that."
Van Nistelrooy also admitted that he did not even have time to say goodbye to his former manager. He said: "Yesterday I trained at United and after the second session I went inside to see how things were going with Real Madrid. But there was still some doubt about the move so I went home and I didn't say goodbye to the manager beforehand."
Van Nistelrooy had another dig at his old club when he referred to Real Madrid as the No 1 club in the world. He added: "When Real Madrid want to sign you, you don't even have to think because you know that they are the No 1 in the world."
Van Nistelrooy admitted he could not wait to be reunited with David Beckham. When the former England captain left for Real Madrid three seasons ago he was replaced by Ronaldo and the Dutchman has failed to match Beckham's achievements on the right side of the United midfield. Van Nistelrooy said: "I missed Beckham a lot. I was sad when he left Manchester United because of the way he is as a person and the way we connected on the pitch."
With the funds from the sale of Van Nistelrooy, United should finally complete the signing of Carrick - provided there are no unexpected hitches over personal terms or a medical - on Monday after confirming a fee has been agreed with Spurs.
Ferguson has had the 25-year-old at the top of his wish-list since the end of last season and always remained optimistic he would get his man despite having a £10m offer rejected by Spurs before the World Cup.
"Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur can confirm they have agreed terms for the transfer of Michael Carrick conditional on the player agreeing personal terms with Manchester United," said a United statement last night. "The player shall be required to pass a medical on Monday." It means Carrick should make his first appearance in next weekend's Amsterdam tournament, probably against Porto on Friday.
The Tottenham head coach, Martin Jol, said on his club's website: "This is a move that Michael wants to make. We have given him every reason to stay, but he has asked to leave."
Jermain Defoe was another player being strongly tipped to join United yet Ferguson rejected the idea he could try to poach two Tottenham players this summer. "There has not been any interest from us [in Defoe]," Ferguson said, before adding he would put his faith in Giuseppe Rossi to be United's fourth striker this term.
Falling out with Fergie: Three stars who had to go
* DAVID BECKHAM No one, not even Sir Alex Ferguson, doubted the England captain's dedication, but his lifestyle was just too starry. He was supposed to be replaced by Ronaldinho, which even hardened Beckhamites could hardly have complained about. Cristiano Ronaldo is not the same thing at all.
* ROY KEANE The Irishman was Ferguson's leader, his own cussed spirit embodied on the pitch, the heart and soul of the team Ferguson built. But once the Old Trafford omerta was broken when Keane spoke out against United's decline, his departure was inevitable - and inevitably acrimonious.
* RUUD VAN NISTELROOY The Dutchman, like Beckham, seemed desperate to play for United, but in the latter stages of last season the manager waged a campaign of negative spin which meant the striker's chances of remaining at Old Trafford this summer were roughly zero.Reuse content