Van Basten is my idol, says Ruud

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 July, 2005, 12:00am

United marksman Ruud van Nistelrooy can't believe he is being compared to Holland great Marco van Basten, considered one of the greatest goalscorers of his generation. Now Van Nistelrooy can't believe he is playing for his idol.

'I have been compared with Van Basten and I am flattered that I am mentioned in the same breath as him because I idolised him when I was growing up. I never ever dreamed I would be playing for Holland and for Van Basten. But here I am now,'' said the Dutch striker, who has earned 42 caps.

Van Basten took over the Dutch national team last year after signing a four-year contract that will include overseeing the team preparations for next year's World Cup in Germany.

Van Basten, the former AC Milan legend, took over from Dick Advocaat 12 months ago after the latter resigned a few days after his team's 2-1 Euro 2004 semi-final defeat against Portugal.

'Now I am playing for my country and Holland are unbeaten in eight games in the World Cup. We have won seven games and drawn one game. I enjoy playing under Van Basten,'' said the 29-year-old Van Nistelrooy.

The former PSV Eindhoven star has so far scored 126 goals for United from 172 games and was looking forward to the upcoming season.

'We have to play well all the time to have a chance of regaining the league title. Every match is important. I think we have improved as a team. If we play to our capabilities, we can beat them [Chelsea and Arsenal],'' he said.

'This Asia tour is good for us to get away and get a good start for the season. I am sure we will get some good matches out of it,'' he said.