Van Nistelrooy was one of the most prolific strikers in Premier League history, netting 95 goals in just 150 top-flight games for the Red Devils from 2001 to 2006.
However, he only won the Golden Boot as the league's top scorer once, with his 25-goal haul in 2002-03 enough for him to pip Arsenal legend Henry to the award by one goal.
Henry scooped the award in all four of the other seasons Van Nistelrooy spent in England, and Ferdinand revealed that the individual battle between the pair was often all the Dutchman cared about.
"You've had all these rivalries over the years, great players need great rivalries. They need rivalries. They should be looking at each other," Ferdinand is quoted as saying by the Manchester Evening News.
"Ruud van Nistelrooy used to come in the changing room after a game, trust me, we're trying to win the league, we've beat someone 3-1 or 4-1, he's scored one goal, he'll come in and look up to the TV [shake his head] and go 'ohh'. He sits down, [we'd ask] 'Ruud, are you alright, what's wrong?'. And he'll reply, 'nothing, nothing'.
"Then someone will go, 'Thierry has scored two today, Ruud has only scored one, so he's a goal behind now'. And he's sitting there devastated, and you can see it. I used to sit there and think this guy is mad, we just won 3-1, he's scored a banger, set someone up as well, and he's disappointed."
Henry scored 130 Premier League goals to Van Nistelrooy's 95 during the time both played in the competition. body check tags ::