By Thomas Rooney
Ruud van Nistelrooy seems to have become the forgotten man of Spanish football. The Real Madrid forward has only made two appearances this season and this follows the 2008/2009 campaign when he only managed 10 games. To say he has had a quiet couple of years in Spain would be an understatement and this is why he is looking for a move away from Madrid in January.
Van Nistelrooy is desperate to play regular first team football and guarantee his place in Holland's World Cup squad next summer. Where is he likely to end up though? Well, there has been plenty of interest in the Premier League where he scored so many goals for Manchester United. Liverpool are thought to be the favourites to land him, but Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers are also interested in securing his services. There is a problem with the Liverpool deal though.
The Reds only want to sign van Nistelrooy on a six-month loan deal. Real Madrid on the other hand are keen to permanently offload the Dutchman. Any deal will depend on whether the two clubs can come to some agreement. Should this happen, the striker could revive Liverpool's Premier League chances.
One thing that is for sure is van Nistelrooy doesn't have a future at the Bernabeu. He is fit again after a long-term injury, but Madrid's attacking options are pretty much sorted with Raul, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Higuain and Karim Benzema in their ranks. With this in mind, the move to Liverpool - and the chance to play alongside Fernando Torres-– must surely be an attractive prospect for the player. It just needs to nature of the deal to be sorted. It would certainly be a disappointing end for van Nistelrooy's Real Madrid career, but he has had some success with the club. He managed 51 goals for Madrid over the 2006/07 and 2007/08 seasons and was an instant hit with the fans. As for what he future holds, he will want to recapture this type of form as he starts the next phase of his career away from Real Madrid and Spanish football. In other sports news, the odds for the Cheltenham Gold Cup are starting to hot up and could be worth keeping an eye on.