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Van Nistelrooy vows to fight back

Ruud van Nistelrooy
Van Nistelrooy damaged his knee during a game against Juventus

Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has vowed to fight back from a career-threatening injury to his right knee.

The Dutchman will miss the rest of the Spanish season after surgery on a partially torn cartilage, which could sideline him for at least nine months.

"This is one of the most difficult moments in my career," the 32-year-old told Spanish sports newspaper Marca.

"But I have two options - give up or fight. I know I need to fight and my battle has just begun."

The former Manchester United star damaged the knee during a 2-1 Champions League defeat at Juventus in October.

I want to return to top form and be the player I was before, I have lots of goals left to score for Madrid

Ruud van Nistelrooy
Van Nistelrooy has since returned to specialist Dr Richard Steadman, who treated him for ligament damage to the same knee as a PSV Eindhoven player in 2000.

"It's pretty tough to be told that I will not return to play until the start of next season, that I will be sidelined for eight or nine months," he said.

"I had no other option but to undergo surgery. The injury was a serious one [but] I've gone to the best knee surgeon.

"He has done the some operation to American football players, basketball players and they always come out well.

"He told me that I will return to play and I will return to play."

Van Nistelrooy, who has scored 45 league goals, including four this season, for Real since joining from United two years ago, said he was determined they would not be his last.

"It's true that I'm 32," he said. "But eight years ago I went through a similar situation as this one and I know what I have to do.

"I want to return to top form and be the player I was before. I have lots of goals left to score for Madrid and many aims yet to achieve.

"I still have a Champions League yet to win and I will give everything to win it.

He top-scored in the 2006-07 season with 25 goals in 37 games and is the second top-scorer in the Champions League with 60 goals.

Real, the reigning Spanish champions, are currently fourth in La Liga but crashed out of the Spanish Cup on Tuesday, losing to third division side Real Union on away goals after drawing 6-6 over the two legs.

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see also
Van Nistelrooy quits Dutch set-up
04 Aug 08 |  Internationals
Ruud revisits spat with Ferguson
17 Feb 07 |  Man Utd
Van Nistelrooy nets Real winner
14 Jan 07 |  Europe
Ruud blames Ferguson after exit
28 Jul 06 |  Man Utd
Van Nistelrooy seals Madrid move
28 Jul 06 |  Man Utd

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