Dutch footballer. Known for his lethal finishing, he has become one of the most feared strikers in European football. Manchester United signed him from PSV Eindhoven in April 2001 for £19 million, which broke the British transfer record. During his first season in England, he scored 23 goals in 32 games, and was on the scoresheet in a record eight consecutive Premier League games. He was also voted the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Player of the Year. He helped the team win the 2003 league title, the 2004 FA Cup, and the 2006 League Cup. In July 2006, he transferred to Real Madrid and helped them win the Spanish league title in his first season there, finishing as the league's top scorer with 25 goals.
International appearances (1998–2011) 70 (35 goals)
Dutch League Championship 2000, 2001
English League Championship 2003
Spanish League Championship 2007, 2008
English FA Cup 2004
English League Cup 2006
Dutch Player of the Year 1999, 2000
Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year 2002
He made his professional debut in 1993 for Dutch side Den Bosch playing as a midfielder, but was converted into a centre forward by Heerenveen in 1997. A year later, PSV Eindhoven signed him for £4.2 million, and he scored 31 goals in 34 games in his first season there, which saw him voted Dutch Player of the Year. During his time at PSV Eindhoven, he scored a remarkable 62 goals in 67 appearances. Manchester United attempted to sign him in a year earlier than they did, but he failed a medical due to a cruciate knee ligament injury. In January 2010, he moved to German club Hamburg, where he played for a season. He played his final season at Malaga in Spain and retired in May 2012. He made his international debut in 1998 and represented his country in the 2004 and 2008 European Championships and the 2006 World Cup.
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