Extra time flies: how the careers of Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy compare

Strikers are at a premium in the modern game. To be successful as the top of the pitch at the elite level of the game, you need pace, power and deadly finishing. Two men who became legendary strikers at Arsenal and Manchester United at the height of their 1990’s and 2000s rivalry were Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy.

How do the two men’s records compare and why do the paths of their very different careers intersect in so many ways? Let’s look at the story of two men who instinctively knew where the goal was, and more importantly, how to find it on an incredibly regular basis.

Youth and the Art of Finishing (1990-1994)

While both van Nistelrooy and Henry would become strikers with whom the first thought associated with them is goals, that wasn’t always the case. Van Nistelrooy began his career playing for Den Bosch in Holland, and it was while he was there that he changed from being a central midfielder to a central striker, preying on the ball and learning the art of finishing.

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