Ruud signed for United on 23rd April, 2001 for a sum of 19 million pounds. It was a British record at that time. In 150 premiership games, he scored an astonishing 95 goals. That works out to an average of at least one goal in two games. In the Champions League, he was deadlier. Ruud scored 38 goals in 48 games.
At today's ridiculous transfer fee rates, the number of goals he scored for 19 million pounds is a real bargain! He is 30 years old this year and I believe he still has much to offer.
Ever since I supported Manchester United (in the mid-eighties), I have never seen a striker as prolific as he donning the Manchester United jersey. It is sad that a great player as him will be leaving the club. Transfer seems inevitable and apart from Real, a host of other clubs including Bayern Munich are ready to table bids to lure him away.
Without Ruud, Manchester United will only have 2 recognised international strikers in Wayne Rooney and Louis Saha to spearhead the attack. Giuseppe Rossi is still young and may need another year or two before he realises his potential. In the meantime, Chelsea has secured the services of Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Ballack whilst Arsenal has signed Tomas Rosicky with Javier Saviola in negotiations. I don't want to mention about Liverpool because they should be playing in the La Liga with the nationality of players playing for Liverpool.
Unless Manchester United get a replacement striker soon enough, next year's Championship hopes will be in jeopardy.
Manchester United will really miss Van the Man! I know I will.