Ronaldo joined Van Nistelrooy at Old Trafford in 2003 and the Netherlands legend says he was immediately aware Sir Alex Ferguson’s new signing was an ‘unbelievable talent’.
Van Nistelrooy and Ronaldo enjoyed much individual and collective success at Man United, winning the FA Cup in 2004 and the League Cup in 2005.
After Van Nistelrooy – who scored 150 goals in 219 appearances for the Red Devils – left Old Trafford to join Real Madrid, Ronaldo went on to win three Premier League titles and the Champions League under Ferguson.
Ronaldo and Van Nistelrooy would later be team-mates at Madrid but their relationship was not always the best, particularly after they clashed in a Manchester United training session.
Fellow Red Devils legend Rio Ferdinand recently recalled the time he ‘smashed’ Van Nistelrooy over his tough treatment of Ronaldo, while Louis Saha has claimed Ronaldo was once reduced to tears by his United team-mate.
Discussing his relationship with Ronaldo, Van Nistelrooy told the FIVE YouTube channel: ‘The press was going on about that particular incident and I also commented on it, I’m happy to do it again because I know I was wrong in that situation.
‘I immediately walked into the dressing room and sat next to him and apologised for my behaviour when I calmed down.
‘That frustration is coming from somewhere and now when you’re 44 you look back and when things happen around you in your private life, it can make you frustrated.
‘It led to a discussion with Cristiano but you have to be big enough to acknowledge that.’
Van Nistelrooy admits he would have heated discussions with Ronaldo but says that was also the case for a number of Manchester United team-mates, including Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.
‘I would communicate with Scholes, Cristiano, [Diego] Forlan, [Jose] Kleberson to try and connect it with them. It was a constant process.
‘Since he became the world’s best player, maybe in history, the discussions go with Cristiano and Ruud and Ruud and Cristiano.
‘But no one talks about Ruud and Diego or Ruud and Giggs or Ruud and Scholesy, that’s the situation I think.
‘Even later with Madrid when he played together, when you meet you know when people are real and that’s the most important thing.’
More to follow…