Rio Ferdinand recalled that the striker Sir Alex Ferguson “wiped out” Rud van Nistelrooy after the striker exchanged shirts with a Manchester City player following the Derby defeat.
The Red Devils were defeated 3-1 in their last City-United match at Maine Road in Ferdinand’s first derby as a United player after a £ 30million move from Leeds.
Shawn Gator hit twice, Nicholas Anelka also on target. Ole Gunnar scored Soulsjear United’s goal but it was his strike partners that caused controversy after the game.
Van Nistelrooy stepped into the dressing room with a city shirt and Ferguson lost it after the defeat, despite being the top dogs in United Manchester.
“We beat Shaun Gator two goals in Maine Road, 3-1,” Ferdinand recalled of his latest. Five Presents by Rio Ferdinand Issue featuring Vincent Kompany.
“That was the first derby I played in and then the moment I realized how big it was in the changing room.
“We went in and the manager closed the door. It was quiet and then all of a sudden they exploded.
“Then God Rudd van Nistelrooy walked in with a city shirt in his hand and I remember Sir Alex Ferguson completely laying down on him. He destroyed him:” If I see any of you walking with the city, you will never play for the club anymore.
“He was like, ‘He’s just crazy. Then I just sat there and thought:’ This is a big game, isn’t it? ‘
“I didn’t know before that match. And since then, you know more or less, the week leading up to the derby is all or nothing.”
Van Nistelrooy was United’s leading man at the time but that did not stop Ferguson from dressing up.
Van Nistelrooy scored a goal in the return fixture at Old Trafford but Gotter saved the point for City with a late header as a substitute.
In five seasons at United, van Nistelrooy scored 150 goals in 219 appearances for the club before joining Real Madrid.