Ruud van Nistelrooy has failed to find his scoring form at Malaga and it looks like the Dutch great's career at top-flight football may be over.
No Dutch treat as Van Nistelrooy withers away
It is not happening for Ruud van Nistelrooy at Malaga. The Dutch No 9 wanted a final swan song in the Andalusian sun after a glittering career in which he was consistently prolific at PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United and Real Madrid, but his scoring boots have deserted him.
Van Nistelrooy, 35, hoped to spearhead a lavishly-assembled Malaga side. Instead, he is the blunt edge of a talented group of players who are still to gel.
Van Nistelrooy has looked off the pace and profligate in front of goal from his first game. He has been slow and easily handled by opposing defences - something that has never been said of him since he started attracting attention at Den Bosch in the Dutch second division in 1994.
Consequently, Van Nistelrooy has become the whipping boy for Malaga's patchy form.
Although Manuel Pellegrini, the coach, persisted with his big-name striker, many fans thought he should be dropped. Pellegrini hoped he would come good, but he was disappointed. With just a solitary goal to his name, the Dutchman was finally relegated to the bench for the Real Madrid game a month ago. He has started just one game since - a woeful 2-0 defeat at Rayo Vallecano.
The veteran striker came off the bench as Malaga beat Racing Santander 3-1 away on Monday night, but his one-year contract at Malaga looks like being his last at the highest level. Sadly, it hasn't been pretty to see a great of Van Nistelrooy's quality wither in the harsh Andalusian sun.