Former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy said he felt betrayed by Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to drop him for the Carling Cup final.
The 30-year-old left Old Trafford for Real Madrid in July after scoring 150 goals in five seasons.
Van Nistelrooy said he had enjoyed a good relationship with Ferguson until he was dropped for February’s 4-0 win over Wigan at the Millennium Stadium.
“To me this felt like a stab in the back,” said Van Nistelrooy.
Louis Saha played instead of Van Nistelrooy in the Carling Cup final, with the Dutchman remaining on the bench for the full 90 minutes.
Ferguson said in August that Van Nistelrooy’s reaction to being dropped was one of the main reasons for his departure to Spain – and the Dutchman backed this view:
“The first three-quarters of last season went well for me, but the final part is best forgotten. My situation with Sir Alex started to change and it became difficult for me and him to work together.”
Van Nistelrooy said he had settled in well since moving to Spain.
“I feel like I have been here for 20 years and moving here is the best thing that has happened in my life. Being at Madrid is fantastic. The people are wonderful and that is a massive thing for me. I’ve had a great first impression of Real Madrid. The club has a fantastic set-up with marvellous people. The atmosphere at training is perfect – it’s just wonderful.”