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Ruud and van Basten – professional, not pally

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 27 May 2008

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Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has described his often fractious relationship with national coach Marco van Basten as “professional”.

The pair fell out badly after the 2006 World Cup with van Nistelrooy, upset at being dropped for the second round loss to Portugal, walking away from the team.

But after overtures from van Basten prompted by Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Sar the Real Madrid striker returned to the national fold, making his comeback from his year long exile last summer.

And when quizzed on his relationship with van Basten here on Tuesday ‘Van the Man’ said: “It’s professional. We don’t have to eat together or have a drink to work together.

“Both of us are pursuing the same goal: that’s to have a good Euro. We’re working together to achieve that aim. And we’re doing it in a very professional manner.”

The 31-year-old said he was in decent condition ahead of the June 7-29 competition in which the Dutch are drawn in Group C with Italy, France and Romania.

“A year ago, given the context, I wasn’t really thinking of playing in the Euro,” he said.

“I’m in good shape. My enforced break (after a right ankle injury) has allowed me to have a rest. I’m fresh ahead of what could be my last big tournament.”

Van Nistelrooy is set to play a role in Thursday’s friendly with Denmark in Eindhoven, having been allowed to take a rest for last weekend’s 3-0 win over Ukraine.

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