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Manchester United: Sir Alex Ferguson ‘DESTROYED’ Ruud van Nistelrooy after derby loss

Sir Alex Ferguson ‘DESTROYED’ Ruud van Nistelrooy when he walked in in a Man City jersey after the 2002 defeat and vowed to ‘never play for this club’ if he did again, reveals Rio Ferdinand, as United legend admits That was when he realized the importance of the derby

  • Manchester United lost 3-1 to City in the Premier League in November 2002
  • The defeat was Rio Ferdinand’s first Manchester derby as a United player.
  • United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy enraged Sir Alex Ferguson with his action
  • Ferdinand says that when he found out how important this accessory was to everyone


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Sir Alex Ferguson was known for his “hair dryer” treatment of players from time to time and Rio Ferdinand has revealed that seeing him on full blast at Ruud van Nistelrooy quickly made him realize the importance of the Manchester derby.

Ferdinand joined Manchester United in July 2002 from Leeds United on a £ 30 million deal, a British record at the time. And just four months later, he first got a taste of a Manchester derby when United traveled to local rivals Manchester City.

However, his derby debut did not go as planned, as Ferguson’s team was swept 3-1 at Maine Road, with Shaun Goater scoring twice in the victory.

Sir Alex Ferguson (pictured) once 'destroyed' Ruud van Nistelrooy after losing a Manchester derby

Van Nistelrooy pictured in action for Manchester United during their 3-1 loss to City in November 2002

Van Nistelrooy pictured in action for Manchester United during their 3-1 loss to City in November 2002

Sir Alex Ferguson (left) once ‘destroyed’ Ruud van Nistelrooy after losing a Manchester derby

Ferguson was outraged that Van Nistelrooy came in wearing a City jersey after United's 3-1 loss.

Ferguson was outraged that Van Nistelrooy came in wearing a City jersey after United's 3-1 loss.

Ferguson was outraged that Van Nistelrooy came in wearing a City jersey after United’s 3-1 loss.

United Rio legend Ferdinand recalls that the incident made him realize the importance of the derby

United Rio legend Ferdinand recalls that the incident made him realize the importance of the derby

United Rio legend Ferdinand recalls that the incident made him realize the importance of the derby

But despite the pain of defeat, it wasn’t until Fernando stepped into the supposed sanctuary of the locker room that he witnessed firsthand what the derby should represent for United.

Reflecting on an incident, Ferdinand recalls the appearance of Van Nistelrooy with a City jersey in hand that sent Ferguson over the edge.

“We were beaten 3-1 at Maine Road with Shaun Goater scoring two goals,” he told his Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE YouTube channel during an interview with City legend Vincent Kompany.

“That was the first derby I ever played and the moment I realized how great I was in the locker room afterwards.

We walked in and the manager closed the door. Everything was silent and then all of a sudden it exploded.

‘Ruud van Nistelrooy, who was the God then, came in with a City jersey in his hand and I remember Sir Alex Ferguson just unloaded on him. He tore it apart saying “if I ever see any of you walking around in the City jersey again, you will never play for this club again.”

‘That’s how he was, he was just angry. That’s when I sat there and thought “this is a great game, right?”

“I didn’t realize it before that game and from then on, whether you win more or less, I knew the week before a derby was all or nothing.”

Van Nistelrooy atoned for that misstep in the second leg in February by scoring at Old Trafford, but Goater’s header in the 86th minute saw City win a 1-1 draw, a match in which Ferdinand was also featured.

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