The alleged incident happened after the Red Devils’ suffered a 3-1 defeat to their local rivals at Maine Road in November 2002.
Van Nistelrooy was playing in his first Manchester derby following City’s promotion from Division One, today known as the Championship.
At the time, the Dutch international was the reigning PFA Players’ Player of the Year after a blistering start to life in England, scoring 23 goals in 32 Premier League appearances during the 2001-02 campaign.
But he was still on the receiving end of Fergie’s famous hairdryer treatment after swapping shirts with a City player, as Ferdinand revealed on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel.
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“We got beat 3-1 at Maine Road with Shaun Goater scoring two goals,” revealed Ferdinand, who was also playing in his first Manchester derby.
“That was the first derby I played and the moment I realised how big it was in the changing room after.
“We walked in and the manager shut the door. It was quiet and then all of a sudden he just erupted.
“Ruud van Nistelrooy, who was the God then, walked in with a City shirt in his hand and I remember Sir Alex Ferguson just absolutely unloaded on him.
“He destroyed him, saying, ‘If I ever see any of you walking with a City shirt ever again you’ll never play for this club.’
“That’s how he was, he was just mad. That’s when I sat there and thought, ‘This is a big game, isn’t it?’
“I didn’t realise before that game and ever since then, whether you win more or less, I knew that week leading up to a derby was all or nothing.”
Ferdinand was discussing the importance of the Manchester derby with former Man City captain Vincent Kompany, who insisted the game was “everything” during his time at the Etihad.
The Belgian defender added: “I lived for big games. As I child, I could be the one that didn’t play well when everyone expects you to ’cause it’s an easy game.
“But I never missed a big game… those games, I knew I was going to be ready. I didn’t have to do much, I just focused on my preparation.
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“The mind set changed so much over the years. The very first time I played against United it was [Carlos] Tevez, [Wayne] Rooney and [Cristiano] Ronaldo up front.
“I might as well have gone to the Trafford Centre! I’m happy I didn’t have to go through that a lot in my career, that feeling was horrible….
“But we won the FA Cup semi-final [in 2011] – and for us that was the tipping point. Until then we didn’t really have the belief that it was a fair contest.”