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Wednesday 14 May 2003

Ruud Van Nistelrooy has been named the Barclaycard Player of the Year for 2002/03 and has won the race for the Barclaycard Golden Boot.

His achievements cap a memorable season in which "Van the Man" has scored 25 league goals (44 in all competitions). The Manchester United star's final day strike against Everton also equalled his own record of scoring in eight consecutive Barclaycard Premiership games last season.

The top five league scorers for this season are: Van Nistelrooy (25), Henry (24), Beattie (23), Viduka (20) and Owen (19).

The race for the Barclaycard Golden Boot has been boosted thanks to a cash prize provided by Barclaycard. This means that Van Nistelrooy will also receive £1,000 for every goal scored (£25,000) for a charity of his choice.

Van Nistelrooy said: "To win both the Barclaycard Golden Boot award and the Player of the Year rounds off a great season for me. There are so many great strikers in the Premiership with the likes Henry, Beattie and Shearer, so it is a real honour to come top of the scorers league.

"I'm pleased with my form as a lot of my goals proved to be very important to our comeback at the end of the season. The goals I've scored also mean I can donate the £25,000 to two causes in Holland, the SOS Children's Village and a Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease charity."

The decision to give the players award to Van Nistelrooy was made by the Barclaycard Awards Panel, which includes representatives from football's governing bodies, the media and fans.

Nic Gault, Barclaycard Awards Panel spokesman, said: "It is no coincidence that Manchester United's famous comeback in 2003 coincided with a scintillating period of goal scoring form from Ruud Van Nistelrooy. As a player he combines individual brilliance with relentless determination that encapsulates all that is great about Sir Alex Ferguson's team."

Barclaycard Player of the Year/ Golden Boot Winner: Ruud Van Nistelrooy

* Born in Oss, Netherlands on July 1st 1976, Van Nistelrooy joined United from PSV Eindhoven in July 2001
* As a youth he played for Den Bosch before signing forms with PSV Eindhoven on 1st August 2001. Here he scored an impressive 57 goals in 67 league appearances.
* Van Nistelrooy has 21 international caps and has scored 21 goals for his country
* His 25-goal triumph in the Barclaycard Race for the Golden Boot is the first time he has claimed the award
* Previous winners of the players award include Freddie Ljungberg (01/02) Patrick Vieira (00/01) and Kevin Phillips (99/00)
* The last Manchester United player to win the award was Dwight Yorke (98/99).

92/93 Sheringham 22 (Tottenham Hotspur but Includes one for Nottingham Forest)
93/94 Cole 34 (Newcastle United)
94/95 Shearer 34 (Blackburn Rovers)
95/96 Shearer 31 (Blackburn Rovers)
96/97 Shearer 25 (Newcastle United)
97/98 Dublin (Coventry City), Owen (Liverpool) Sutton (Blackburn Rovers) 18
98/99 Hasselbaink (Leeds United), Owen (Liverpool) Yorke (Man United) 18
99/00 Philips 30 (Sunderland)
00/01 Hasselbaink 23 (Chelsea)
01/02 Henry 24 (Arsenal)
02/03 Van Nistelrooy 25 (Manchester United)

DID YOU KNOW: 92/93, 93/94, 94/95 seasons there were 42 games played, 95/96 onwards just 38 games

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