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PSV spokesman Pedro Salazar
"An agreement has been signed"
 real 28k

Ruud van Nistelrooy
"I'm glad I have the chance to go to Manchester"
 real 28k

Friday, 21 April, 2000, 13:26 GMT 14:26 UK
Man Utd's mystery man
Ruud van Nistelrooy
Manchester United have signed Van Nistelrooy for 18.5m
Manchester United have paid 18.5m for PSV Eindhoven striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, breaking the British transfer record.

But who is the highly-rated Dutch striker?

Van Nistelrooy has had a dizzy rise to fame since moving from the then Dutch second division team Den Bosch to Heerenveen in 1997.

A year later he moved to high-fliers PSV and scored 31 goals in his first season.

He swiftly caught the attention of Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard and was given his first run-out in November 1998 against Germany.
Van the man
1997: Moves to First Division Heerenveen. Scores 13 times in 30 appearances
1998: Signs for PSV Eindhoven for 4.2m
18 Nov - makes international debut against Germany
1999: May - Top scores in Dutch league with 31 goals
Voted Dutch player of the year
Scores first international goal against Morocco
2000: 6 March - Injured against Danish side Silkeborg
21 April - Signs for Man Utd for 18.5m

Van Nistelrooy has scored only once for his country, in the 2-1 defeat against Morocco in April 1999, and has very much remained the number three in Rijkaard's thoughts to the key pairing of Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Kluivert.

Four of his nine appearances have been as a substitute. The remaining five have been when one of the favoured two was unavailable.

The 6ft 2in forward is not short of skill, has pace and a keen eye for gaps between goalkeeper and post.

However some commentators point to the fact that his scoring at PSV has relied on the presence of Belgian international partner Luc Nilis.

Van Nistelrooy is a natural marksman, but needs good support.

Despite his relative youth, the 23-year-old is a calmer character than some of his more fiery compatriots.

He rejected offers to leave PSV last year, preferring to establish himself in the Dutch game first.

But now Manchester United have landed a highly regarded player.

Other top clubs who were chasing for his signature included Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Spain's Atletico Madrid and Italian giants Lazio and Roma.

Van Nistelrooy, who has scored 29 goals this season, has been out of action recently with a leg injury although he insists that has now healed.

His move to United is subject to a medical which he will have next week.

At the moment he is training to get himself match fit in a bid to spearhead Holland's challenge for glory at Euro 2000.

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See also:

21 Apr 00 | FA Carling Premiership
Man Utd land Dutch star
20 Apr 00 | Football
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Henry has high hopes
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Sir Alex: We were second best
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Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.