Ruud van Nistelrooy played in his first Manchester derby in November 2002, when boss Sir Alex Ferguson “destroyed” him in the locker room to change jerseys
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Sir Alex Ferguson once “destroyed” striker Ruud van Nistelrooy for bringing a Manchester City jersey into the locker room, according to Manchester United icon Rio Ferdinand.
The alleged incident came after the Red Devils suffered a 3-1 defeat to their local rivals on Maine Road in November 2002.
Van Nistelrooy played in his first Manchester derby after City’s promotion from Division One, today known as the Championship.
At the time, the Dutch national team player was the reigning PFA Players’ Player of the Year after a windy start to life in England, scoring 23 goals in 32 Premier League matches in the 2001-02 campaign.
But he was still on the receiving end of Fergie’s famous hair dryer treatment after swapping jerseys with a City player, as Ferdinand revealed on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel.
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“We were beaten 3-1 on Maine Road where Shaun Goater scored two goals,” revealed Ferdinand, who also played in his first Manchester derby.
“It was the first derby I played and the moment I realized how big it was in the locker room after.
“We went in and the manager closed the door. It was quiet and then all of a sudden he just broke out.
“Ruud van Nistelrooy, who was the god at the time, walked in with a City jersey in his hand and I remember Sir Alex Ferguson just completely unloading on him.
“He ruined him and said, ‘If I ever see any of you wearing a City jersey ever again, you will never play for this club.’
“That’s how he was, he was just mad. That was when I was sitting there thinking, ‘This is a big game, isn’t it?’
“I was not aware of it before that match, and ever since then, whether you win more or less, I knew the week leading up to a derby was all or nothing.”
Ferdinand discussed the importance of the Manchester derby with former Man City captain Vincent Kompany, who insisted the game was “everything” during his time at the Etihad.
The Belgian defender added: “I lived for big matches. As a child I could be the one who did not play well when everyone expects you to, because it is an easy match.
“But I never missed a big fight … the fights I knew I wanted to be ready for. I did not have to do much, I just focused on my preparation.
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“My mind changed so much over the years. It was the very first time I played against United [Carlos] Tevez, [Wayne] Rooney and [Cristiano] Ronaldo in front.
“I might as well have gone to the Trafford Center! I’m glad I did not have to go through so much in my career, that feeling was awful …
“But we won the semi-final of the FA Cup [in 2011] – and for us it was the turning point. Until then, we did not really believe it was a fair competition. ”