Man Utd icon Ruud van Nistelrooy opens up on infamous Martin Keown incident

Legendary Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has opened up on his famous clash with Arsenal defender Martin Keown in 2003 with a surprisingly different view.

The game between the two Premier League title rivals at the time finished 0-0 but it was later dubbed the Battle of Old Trafford because of what happened afterwards.

Van Nistelrooy, who netted 95 times in 150 appearances for United, scuffed a game-winning penalty against the crossbar in the last minute.

There was so much heat in the match that saw Patrick Vieira sent off and it reached a boiling point when Keown screamed in van Nistelrooy's face leading to a mass brawl.

“That afternoon ignited sort of the… That was more personal towards me I recall,” the Dutchman told the United podcast. “That day and that afternoon, with the penalty miss and the red card and after the game incidents. It made it all go ballistic a little bit.

“It was a great image of him [Keown] flying above me but the thing is that he is actually the nicest man you’ll meet outside a football pitch."

All is forgiven between the pair and van Nistelrooy added that even at the time of the incident, he was more bothered about the penalty than Keown's outburst.

"Yeah, I couldn’t care less, I was just so sick of the penalty miss,” he added.

“It was 0-0 for God’s sake, you know, in the last minute against Arsenal… It was a huge penalty and I smacked it off the crossbar and I didn’t win the game for the club and for the team.

”Obviously, with the sending off and the end being… Of course, the Arsenal players were still unbeaten because of that also.

"That reaction was also there. It went to me because of the yellow card of Vieira. I was just running inside to sit in the corner of the dressing room.“

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