A recent interview with Sir Alex indicates how much more cohesive the team became once Ruud Van Nistelrooy left Old Trafford. Team spirit was a huge factor in their regaining the Premiership. It was telling that Sir Alex did not single out a player pivotal to their success. However, there is a feeling that during the FA Cup final against Chelsea, with Ronaldo's pallid performance and Rooney's inability to toe-poke the ball into goal that Sir Alex must have looked back a couple of times to the past, if only for this match, and wished for the services of Ruud.
For Ruud is doing what Ruud does best, score goals. He has put Real in pole position with his league leading 22 goals. This too in his first season in a new league. He can rightfully put himself up there with Samuel Eto'o who also wasted no time in his first season at Barca scoring 24 goals but had the advantage of playing in the Liga for seven seasons prior. But Ruud excels in hitting the ground running. His first season at Man Utd produced 23 goals.
Ruud has dominated Real's scoring eclipsing Raul's seven and Robinho's six goals. At this point one man's individual contribution seems to be spurring on Real and if they go onto win the Liga, then one can be sure that Fabio Capello in his interview will not dwell on team spirit but single out the one player responsible for their success. One also might warn Capello that he should enjoy the next couple of seasons because Ruud also wears his welcome out very quickly. But for the moment, the player who everyone loves to hate, is having the last laugh.