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Aston Villa vs. Arsenal in FA Cup final

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By ESPN Staff

Ruud reveals breaking point over Fergie omission

Ruud van Nistelrooy claims Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's treatment of him 'kicked his soul' and forced the Dutch striker to leave Old Trafford and join Real Madrid last summer.

Van Nistelrooy was left as an unused substitute during United's Carling Cup final triumph over Wigan at the Millennium Stadium last season and the player insists Ferguson's decision to keep him out of the action was the moment he knew he had no future with the club.

'After an hour we were 4-0 in front and I was desperate to come on with still 30 minutes left, maybe score a goal and be able to lift the trophy,' he said.

'First Kieran Richardson was brought on, then Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, who had only arrived two weeks before. I exploded and began swearing at Ferguson because I felt he had kicked my soul.

'That was the moment things died and, after that, things would never be good, they could never be the same again.'

Van Nistelrooy accepted the breakdown in relationship between manager and player was also his fault as well as Ferguson's.

'I find it rather tragic,' he told World Soccer.

'This was the man who visited me in hospital when I had my bad knee injury while I was with PSV. This was the man who wanted me at all costs. It was because our relationship was so warm that this situation was so painful.'