Louis Saha was in the in form striker and the highest scorer in the League Cup that season, meaning Ruud started the game from the bench. Sir Alex opted to bring on new signings Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic to give them a taste of success so early in their United careers, as well as youngster Kieran Richardson, so he could win his first trophy with the club.
From that point on, it seemed certain that Ruud was on his way out. He was sulky on the pitch and went on to score just two goals in the ten games he played in after missing out on the final, including a missed penalty in his last game in our 0-0 draw against Middlesbrough.
Real Madrid signed him at the end of that season and Ruud has repeatedly spoken of his regret.
In an interview with a Dutch publication, Voetbal Magazine, Ruud has revealed his wife encouraged him to call up Sir Alex and apologise.
“I said ‘I want to apologise.’ He said ‘I appreciate it. Next time we see each other, everything will be okay.’ It was great. I told him the five years I had at Manchester United with him were fantastic. Unfortunately, they’re gone. When I encounter Ferguson, and I really hope that this happens again, I will embrace him. Then it will be case closed.”