1o Greatest Manchester United Players
10 Greatest Footballer Who Played For Manchester United
While there is no debating Alex Ferguson’s standing as the best manager to ever lead Manchester United, there is plenty to debate regarding the best players to ever wear the famed red jersey. As time rolls on, this list will possible change, but the past should never be forgotten.
As the most successful club in England and one of the biggest football clubs across the world, Manchester United can boast of a host of superstars who have donned their famous scarlet red jersey.
Right from George Best - arguably Britain’s first football superstar – to David Beckham – who was the most recognized footballer in the world at one point – to Cristiano Ronaldo – who is currently regarded as one of the two biggest footballers of this generation, United have had a long list of legends on their rolls.
With a list as wide as United’s, it is very difficult to select the club’s top 10 players of all time but this attempt has been made keeping in mind each player’s contributions to the club, their success on the pitch as well as influence off it, and the number of years they dedicated to the club and the number of trophies each of them won with the club.
Sir Bobby Charlton
Charlton made 758 appearances for Manchester United as a midfielder and scored 249 goals, both of which still rank second in the all-time club standings. He made his debut for the Red Devils in 1956 and helped them to the English League title the very next season. In 1958, he was one of the survivors of the Munich air disaster. He won the FA Cup in 1963 and the league title again in 1965 and 1967. In 1966, he won the Fifa World Cup as well as the Ballon d'Or, becoming the first Englishman to do so. Two seasons later, in 1968, he captained United as they became the first-ever English club to win the European Cup. In all, he played 17 seasons for United, with his last appearance coming in 1973.
Law was signed by United in 1962 for a British transfer record as manager Sir Matt Busby continued rebuilding the squad after the Munich disaster. Teaming up with Charlton and Best, the trio famously came to be hailed as United's Holy Trinity. Law helped United to two league titles and an FA Cup trophy in the 1960s. He was a crucial part of the 1968 European Cup winning squad but unfortunately missed the final through injury. He was exceptionally brilliant in 1964 when he won the Ballon d'Or, becoming the first United player to do so. The Scot played 404 matches for United, scoring 237 goals and is only behind Charlton and Wayne Rooney in United's all-time goal scoring list.
3. George Best
Making his debut at just 17, Best was the most mesmerizing member of the Holy Trinity. He played 474 matches for United between 1963 and 1974, scoring 181 goals. Like Charlton and Law, he was also part of the title-winning squads of 1965 and '67 and also won the European title in 1968. A winger who loved to dribble, Best was the superstar at United who drew the crowds and had the biggest fan following. He is the one who first made United's No. 7 jersey so iconic. Thanks to his good looks and playboy lifestyle, he was a favourite of the British media and was nicknamed 'El Beatle'. Like Charlton and Law, he also won the Ballon d'Or, in 1968. He captained Northern Ireland at the international level but for various reasons was never part of a World Cup squad. He is often regarded as the greatest football never to play in a World Cup. As a tribute to their contributions to the club, United have erected a statue of their Holy Trinity outside Old Trafford.
4. David Beckham
Beckham was part of Sir Alex Ferguson's famous Class of 92, making his debut at just 17. Like Best before him, Beckham also wore the famous No.7 jersey and achieved worldwide fame as a dead-ball specialist. His ability to curl a freekick in the air made him famous outside football circles as well and even inspired the movie Bend It Like Beckham. He was a pivotal member of the 1999 United squad that won the treble of Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup trophies. Just like Best, his superior looks made him a superstar outside of football as well. Beckham made 394 appearances for United and scored 85 goals. He played at United for 11 years and won 13 trophies, including 6 Premier League titles.
5. Eric Cantona
Ferguson claims Cantona is his most important signing and while Ronaldo can give him tough competition, the French striker is the one who sparked United's domination in the Premier League era. Having joined in 1992, Cantona played for United only till 1997 but in his 5 seasons with the club, he helped them to 4 league titles. He scored 66 times in 205 appearances for the Red Devils. A charismatic talisman, Cantona had frequent issues with fans and opponents but there was no questioning his footballing prowess.
6. Wayne Rooney
Signed as an 18-year-old in 2004, Rooney went on to become the greatest goalscorer in Manchester United's history with 253 goals in all competitions. In his 17 seasons with the club, he won 13 trophies including 5 Premier League titles. He is also the topscorer in England's history with 53 goals for the national team. His 183 Premier League goals for United is the most by a player for a single club in the competition's history. A barrel-chested striker with an eye for goal, Rooney played deeper in his final years, sometimes even as a midfielder but he was just as effective behind the striker as well. In all, Rooney made 546 appearances for the Red Devils.
7. Ryan Giggs
With a whopping 973 appearances to his name, Giggs has played the most number of matches in Manchester United's history during a career that spanned from 1990 to 2014. He won an astounding 35 trophies with the club, including a record 13 Premier League titles, 2 Champions Leagues, 4 FA Cups and 4 League Cups. Though the Welshman started as a winger, he reinvented himself over the years and that's what helped in his longevity, ending his career as a midfielder. He holds the record for the most assists in Premier League history, having set up 162 goals. After retiring in 2014, he stayed on as part of the coaching staff until 2017 and even became the interim manager of Manchester United in 2014 while the club was between managers.
8. Cristiano Ronaldo
Ferguson signed Ronaldo in 2003 as the heir to Beckham and the Portuguese winger shone like a star wearing the famous No. 7 shirt. He played 292 matches, scoring 118 times and won 9 trophies, including 3 Premier League titles and a Champions League. In his six seasons at United, he was especially unplayable in 2007-08, when he scored a Premier League-record 31 goals and finished with 42 goals in all competitions. After a spell at Real Madrid, he is now at Juventus and holds the record for the most number of official goals in the history of football.
9. Duncan Edwards
Edwards made his debut for United at the tender age of 16. But by 21, he had racked up 177 appearances for United, scoring 21 times. But his career was cruelly cut short when he lost his life in the 1958 Munich disaster. He had survived the initial crash but succumbed to injuries in the hospital two weeks later. Touted as a future England and United captain, Edwards had already helped the club to two league titles. Many of his peers have hailed as the greatest player they ever played with or against and his is an unfortunate case of what might have been.
10. Peter Schmeichel
The Danish goalkeeper made 393 appearances for United between 1991 and 1999. He won 5 Premier League titles and 3 FA Cups and, in his final season with the club, was part of the treble-winning side of '99. Known for his acrobatic saves, he was nicknamed the Great Dane and marshalled the United defence that in the late '90s didn't concede too many goals cheaply.
Honourable Mentions: Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, Bryan Robson, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.
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