Talking on Rio Ferdinand’s YouTube channel, Five, Van Nistelrooy talked about his rivalry with Arsenal legend when they were representing their clubs between 2001 and 2006. However, Van Nistelrooy insists their rivalry was built on respect and he was often left in awe by Henry's ability.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy said: "I admired him, I studied his game. Thierry, wow, he was doing stuff in the Premiership, oh my god. I wanted to compete with him to push myself."
During the first season they both played in the Premier League, the Dutchman finished joint second on 23 goals while Thiery Henry won the 2001-02’s Golden Boot by 24 goals. If he wasn’t left out of the squad in the final day by Ferguson, He Perhaps could have overtaken Henry.
Reflecting on being dropped, Van Nistelrooy said: "I was up there for the Golden Boot, first year I was challenging that, but in the last game of the season the gaffer left me out, he said: 'You're not winning the Golden Boot son, we didn't win the league.' Not even on the bench.
"The manager, he made me sharp in that moment, you cannot believe it. Goals, you need to connect it with titles."
During the boiling point of Manchester United and Arsenal’s rivalry in 2003-04 season, Van Nistelrooy hit the bar with a late penalty in a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford and was mobbed by mocking Gunners players.