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By ESPN Staff
May 14, 2003

Ruud nets Player of the Year award

Ruud van Nistelrooy has finally eclipsed Thierry Henry for one player of the year award.

Having seen his Arsenal rival triumph in the Football Writers' and Professional Footballers' Association polls, van Nistelrooy has been rewarded for his 44 goals this season by being named Barclaycard Player of the Year.

Van Nistelrooy's goals guided Manchester United to the Premiership title and his 25 in the league - one more than nearest challenger Henry - also helped him to the Barclaycard Golden Boot.

The Dutchman's reward is £1,000 for every goal scored and he has donated that cash to charities in his homeland.

Van Nistelrooy said: 'To win both the Barclaycard Golden Boot award and the Player of the Year rounds off a great season for me.

'There are so many great strikers in the Premiership with the likes Henry, James Beattie and Alan Shearer, so it is a real honour to come top of the scorers league.

'I'm pleased with my form as a lot of my goals proved to be very important to our comeback at the end of the season.

'The goals I've scored also mean I can donate the £25,000 to two causes in Holland, the SOS Children's Village and a Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease charity.'

The Player of the Year award was voted for by the Barclaycard Awards Panel, which includes members of the media, governing bodies and fans.

Awards panel spokesman Nic Gault said: 'It is no coincidence that Manchester United's famous comeback in 2003 coincided with a scintillating period of goal scoring form from Ruud van Nistelrooy.

'As a player he combines individual brilliance with relentless determination that encapsulates all that is great about Sir Alex Ferguson's team.'