Ranking The Greatest 10 Manchester United Players Of All Time
Manchester United is considered one of the biggest clubs in the football world and referents of this sport. The Red Devils have had a wonderful history full of championships, incredible feats and some of the best players this game has seen. Perhaps they don’t have the same pedigree they used to have until the early 2010s, Manchester has counted with very impressive footballers throughout its existence.
Some of them couldn’t succeed while they were part of the squad; as for others, things worked out pretty well and went to be great players in the club, gaining the love and respect of the team’s directive and the fans. Today we are going to take a look at some of the best players in Manchester United’s history.
This is one of the most important clubs in the world that demands all the best from its players. Now, we’re about to see 10 of those assets that did it greatly at Old Trafford, getting the right to be considered some of the best players in the club’s history.
Honorable Mention: Nemanja Vidic
10. Paul Scholes
One of the best English midfielders in history and one of the most beloved players in Man. Utd. history. Paul Scholes gave everything he had to the club and won plenty of silverware with them, contributing and appearing in more than one occasion for his side.
Scholes had two tenures with the Red Devils. The first one between 1993 and 2011, which was interrupted due to his surprising retirement. A year later, Paul announced his return to the field to play one more season; at the end of that term, Scholes announced his second and definite retirement.
Known by his technical skills, intelligence, and good long-range shoot, he will be always remembered for that huge goal he scored against Barcelona in 2008 that took Manchester to the Champions League final.
9. Bobby Charlton
Sir Bobby Charlton is a former player that is widely considered as one of the best midfielders not only in his country but in the entire world. Charlton was part of that England national team that won the 1966 FIFA World Cup, which counted with a lot of help from Bobby himself and his attacking talents.
With Manchester United, he tallied several awards, including three Football League First Division titles, one FA Cup and the European Cup in 1967/68. He also won the Ballon d’Or the same year he won the World Cup. Through 17 years with the Red Devils, he had 606 caps, scoring 199 goals.
8. Edwin van der Sar
The great Dutch goalkeeper became one of the most respected and admired players in the club soon after he made his arrival at Old Trafford. Following a very good stint in Fulham, the Red Devils turned their heads to Edwin and didn’t hesitate to sign him, making one of the best decisions they could make at that time.
Van der Sar displayed all his good game with Man. Utd., becoming one of the best goalies both in England and abroad, often saving the team and taking it to play for big things. One of the best moments of Edwin as a United’s player was that penalty save in front of Nicolas Anelka that gave Manchester his last Champions League title. For that and more, van der Sar is one of the best players in the history of the club.
7. Wayne Rooney
Here we go with the Bad Boy, Wayne Rooney, a player who knew how to earn the love and respect from his club’s fans and the hate of their rivals. Rooney arrived in Manchester after having good times with Everton and ever since he landed, he never stopped providing. He created a huge duo with Cristiano Ronaldo and became the leader of the team after the first left the club.
He won everything he could with his club, including five Premier Leagues, that famous 2007/08 Champions League against Chelsea, a FIFA Club World Cup and one Europa League in 2016, among other individual prizes. He left Old Trafford as one of the biggest idols of the club to go back to his first team, Everton. Right now he plays for D.C. United of the MLS, when Wayne keeps demonstrating his good level.
In Manchester, he played 559 games, scoring 253 goals and showing huge commitment and love to his team.
6. Ruud van Nistelrooy
Ruud van Nistelrooy’s time in Manchester was relatively short, but the Dutch striker made sure to make it a good one. He signed with the team after having outstanding performances with Dutch side PSV, turning the eyes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester front office.
He created a total revolution at Old Trafford, making fans go crazy on a weekly basis thanks to his scorings, becoming one of the deadliest strikers in Europe. Unfortunately, van Nistelrooy himself forced his exit of the club and couldn’t be there when they won the Champions League just two years after his departure.
During his times in England, he played 219 times with Manchester, netting 150 times.
5. Peter Schmeichel
There is one reason why Edwin van der Sar isn’t the best goaltender in United’s history and that is this guy, Peter Schmeichel. The Danish goalkeeper was nothing but great during his years with the Red Devils, recording one of the best performances any goalkeeper has ever had, leading his club to achieve very big things.
He had an 8-year spell with Man. Utd. where he managed to win impressive things, but the most amusing achievement of Peter and his teammates was the Treble they won in 1999 after a dramatic Champions League final that saw his side defeat Bayern Munchen at injury time, in big part thanks to the great game Schmeichel had that day, cutting all the efforts the Germans made to increase their lead and close the game.
His intimidating physique made him look like a wall in front of the net. He has been regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in history for what he did both in Manchester and his national side. It looks really hard that somebody can surpass what Peter has done in the years he played under Sir Alex Ferguson’s wing.
4. George Best
It would have been crazy if one of the best players of all time didn’t make his appearances in this list. George Best has been regarded as the best of the best in football history; including Pelé stated George was the greatest footballer in the world and he proved that during his Manchester United days.
Just when he was 15, the scout that discovered him told then United’s manager: "I think I've found you a genius." He made his professional debut at only 17, becoming one of the most important players in the history of the team. He went to score 179 goals from 470 appearances over 11 years, being the club’s top scorer in the league five years in a row.
He was a great dribbler, played with a great pace, surpassing defenders like it was nothing. With the Red Devils, Best won two First Division titles, two Charity Shields and one European Cup. He retired over 30 years ago and people keep talking about how good he was.
3. Ryan Giggs
When you mention Manchester United is mandatory to talk about Ryan Giggs, as this Welsh midfielder ate and drank Man. Utd., becoming the most important player of the team at some point of this times at Old Trafford. Not even Gary Neville or Rio Ferdinand were as important as this guy was.
This one-club man spent his entire 24-year career with Manchester racking up plenty of silverware, highlighting the 13 Premier Leagues he lifted up, four FA Cups and he also was part of the last two Manchester United squads that won the Champions League. There is a lot of things to say about this Welsch player, but that would take plenty of times.
He is and will be for many years to come one of the best footballers United’s fans have had the luck to see representing their club.
2. Eric Cantona
This French striker was as controversial as successful during his stint with Manchester. Eric Cantona made a complete revolution at Old Trafford and is considered the main responsible for recovering the team’s prestige they had lost before his arrival in 1992. His technical skills alongside his ability to score quickly earned him the admiration of the fans, as well as the way he fought for every ball, and decision from the refs.
He was nicknamed ‘King Eric’ by United’s supporters and has been voted as the best players in the history of the club more than once. Cantona was an inaugural inductee into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002, was voted as the best foreign player of the decade in Premier League and more.
He tallied four Premier League titles over five years and two League and FA Cup Doubles. He scored 82 goals in 185 matches with Manchester, leaving a huge mark in the team.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
If Eric Cantona was responsible for the bounce back Manchester United had during the 90s, Cristiano Ronaldo emulated him by doing the same a decade later. Coming from Sporting Lisbon, CR7 was expected to become a great player in Manchester and he did it a great way, improving his level and the team’s season after season until the Red Devils became again the best team in Europe and the world.
Ronaldo and his Manchester were often playing latter stages of the UCL, but it wasn’t until 2008 that he took the team to the final and made them European champions for the first time in nearly a decade. Besides that, he won three consecutive Premier Leagues from 2006 to 2009 and a FIFA Club World Cup in 2008.
He won his first Ballon d’Or when he was part of the Red Devils and took them to be one of the biggest powerhouses in European football before taking his talents to Real Madrid. There is no doubt about the huge impact Cristiano made in United’s history and why he’s considered the best player in the history of the club right now.