Van Nistelrooy played for Manchester United for five years
Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has joined Hamburg on an 18-month deal, the German club have announced.
The former Manchester United forward, 33, had been linked with moves to several Premier League clubs including West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs were keen to sign him but balked at his wage demands, while West Ham were reportedly rejected by the player.
The Dutchman was out of favour at Real and keen to secure first-team football ahead of this year's World Cup finals.
Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia said: "Ruud has proven his qualities at some of Europe's top clubs. I'm convinced that he will score some important goals for us."
Van Nistelrooy said: "I am really happy that it has worked out. I had great talks with both [Hamburg president] Bernd Hoffmann and Bruno Labbadia and had a very positive impression from the very beginning."
With Van Nistelrooy seeking a weekly salary of around £100,000, Spurs boss Harry Redknapp was forced to end his interest.
"We don't pay that type of wage," he said. "It would break our wage structure by an awful long way. The chairman runs a good business and wouldn't pay that sort of money."
West Ham's new owner David Sullivan said on Thursday that he had offered a "special" player wages of £100,000 a week without confirming it was the Dutchman.
After joining Manchester United from PSV Eindhoven for £19m in 2001, Van Nistelrooy scored a 150 goals in 219 games in all competitions during his five years at Old Trafford, before he moved to Real for £10.2m.
But the Dutchman has featured only four times for the Spanish side this season.
"It's a gamble because he has been injured," added Redknapp.
"A fit Ruud van Nistelrooy is world-class but if you have him for 18 months and he's not fit it's a big problem to have [such] a massive wage on your bill."
Meanwhile, Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko's future at White Hart Lane shows no sign of being resolved.
Spartak Moscow are interested in signing Pavlyuchenko after selling him to Tottenham at the start of last season, but the Russian club have been unable to reach a deal with Spurs.
Spartak director of football Dmitri Popov said: "Now everything depends upon Tottenham. If they make just a step in our direction, the problem with Roman's transfer will be solved.
"Some other teams want to sign him, too. But as far as I know if Pavlyuchenko returns to Russia, he would prefer to come back to Spartak."
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