Former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has revealed that he was denied the 2002 golden boot by manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
It was the Dutchman debut season in the Premier League after joining them from PSV and despite finishing the season on 23 goals, an outing that placed him joint-second alongside Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Alan Shearer, the striker feels he could have easily emerged as the winner if he was to play more games.
The season’s golden boot went to Arsenal’s Thierry Henry who bagged 24 goals with the Dutchman feeling that he could have bagged the accolade if Ferguson allowed him to play in the final game of the season.
“The gaffer left me out in the last game of the season,” Nistelrooy said on Rio Ferdinand Presents Five on Youtube.
Ferguson at that time believed that there was no need for individual glory as the team had already fallen short in the title race.
“You’re not challenging for the Golden Boot, we didn’t win the league son, you’re out. He left him on the stands man, not even on the bench. I didn’t even have hope,” the Dutchman added
United however retained the Premier League title in the next season with Nistelrooy picking up not just the Golden Boot but the best player award.