Manchester United has undoubtedly been the most dominant team in English Football over the last 25 years. Under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson Mancheser United in history has gone on to win the Premier league title a total of 13 times, the FA Cup 5 times, the league Cup 4 times and the Champions League twice.
The Alex Ferguson era may be over at Old Trafford but it has left behind a lot of trophies and memories to savor. The quality of players that have played for Manchester United over the last 15 years have been top-notch so the task of picking a top ten players is a task next to impossible.
Footballbetting.org have decided to take a crack at the hard task of devising such a list, if there are any players we might have missed feel free to let us know.
Top 10 Manchester United Players (2000 – present)
Vidic joined United for a fee of 7£ million from Spartak Moscow at the age of 25 during the 2005/06 season. It didn’t take the Serbian long to cement his place at the center of the United defense forming a partnership with England international Rio Ferdinand. The Duo went on to form one of the most formidable defensive partnerships in Europe.
The Serbian was part of the United team that went on a record 14 game without conceding a goal during the 2008/09 Premier league season. After a number of solid years with the club Vidic was chosen by Alex Ferguson to succeed Gary Neville as the club captain for the 2010/11 season.
Captain Fantastic: –
He would go onto captain the side till the end of the 2013/14 season and played his final match against Hull City in the final game of the season, Vidic famously received three standing ovations for the United supporters in his final game. Vidic made a total of 300 appearances for the club and scoring 21 goals.
During his time with the club Vidic won the Premier League title 5 times, the League Cup thrice and the Champions League once.
O’Shea kicked of his professional career with Manchester United at the age of 17 and made his debut in a 3-0 defeat against Aston Villa in 1999. The Irish international spent the next few seasons away from United with brief spells loans spells away to Bournemouth and Royal Antwerp.
Upon returning back to club O’Shea started to feature regularly in the first team by the 2002/03 season. During his time with United he had the unique opportunity to play in every position from Center-Back to Striker to Goalie (League game versus Spurs in the 2006/07 season – made a few fine saves as well).
From Striker to Goalie: –
O’Shea went on to play for United till the end of the 2010/11 season after which he joined Sunderland. He made 393 appearances for United scoring 15 goals in total. During his time with United he went on to win 5 Premier League titles, 3 League Cups and the FA Cup and Champions League once.
David De Gea
A product of the Atletico Madrid youth academy De Gea joined the Spanish giants at the age of 13 and went on to make his professional debut with Atletico at the age of 18.
It didn’t take the young Spanish keeper long and played his way up from a third choice to first choice keeper within a few seasons.
United at the time were looking for a replacement for Edwin Van Der Sar who was set to retire after the 2010/11 season. After much Speculation United signed De Gea from Atletico before the start of 2011/12 season for a fee of 17.8 £ million.
And they thought Van Der Sar couldn’t be replaced: –
His time at United has been a rag to riches story, he struggled in his first two seasons at United and came under heavy criticisms for some of his performances but Ferguson backed his talent and knew he would only get better.
2013/14 season saw the coming off age of De Gea, he was undoubtedly one of the best players if not the best for United pulling off game winning performances week in week out and receiving praises from many of his peers.
The 2014/15 season so far been another great season for the young Spanish Keeper and has undoubtedly been the best player for United this campaign. His performance against Liverpool in the first North-West Derby of the season was one of best performances by a goalie in recent memory.
He has made 158 appearances for United till date (6th of March, 2015) and will certainly move up in the rankings if he were to stay with the red devils for the years to come. Won the premier league with United in the 2012/13 season.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy
This was that most difficult name to leave out of the Top 10. Van Nistelrooy was brought into United before the start of the 2001/02 season. He was initially set to join United before the 2000/01 season but an injury forced United to back-track from the transfer then but some matches are made in heaven and that was certainly the case with Nistelrooy and United.
Van Nistelrooy was bought by United for a then club and British record transfer fee of 18.5£ million. He made his debut for United in the first game of the season against arch rivals Liverpool in the FA charity shield game and scored in a losing effort.
Clinical and deadly: –
Van Nistelrooy was sensational for United and played for them like he always belonged there scoring 36 goals in 49 games in the first season. His efforts earned him the PFA player’s player of the year in his debut season.
He scored 150 goals in 219 games in all competitions for United till 2006 after which he made a move to Real Madrid for a fee 14€ million. During his time with United he won the Premier League once, FA cup and the league Cup also once.
Top 10 Manchester United Players
10. Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand joined United from Leeds before the start of the 2002/03 for a then Premier League record fee of 29.1£ million, a move that made him the most expensive defender in the world.
He was well worth the fee for United winning his first premier league medal in his debut season with the Devils. Ferdinand’s time with the United were not without some controversies he was famously banned for eight months during the 2003/04 season after failing to turn up for a drug test (A test he passed but was still punished for not showing up on time).
Mad but Classy: –
Ferdinand was always a consistent performer on the pitch delivering week-in week-out. He went on to make 455 appearances for United scoring a total of 8 times.
His 12 year old stay with United came to end after the 2013/14 season as his contract was not renewed and was allowed to leave on a free transfer to QPR for the 2014/15 season.
During his time with Manchester United Rio Ferdinand won the Premier League title 6 times, the FA Cup once, the League Cup twice and the Champions League once.
9. Patrice Evra
The French international was a January window signing during the 2005/06 season arriving from AS Monaco for a fee of 5.5 £ million. Evra initially had a hard time adapting to English football that saw him struggling to keep hold of a place in the starting 11.
Though it took him time to adapt he started putting in game winning performances in the 2006/07 season and managed to win back a place in the starting 11 by the end of the season. He was even named in the PFA team of the year despite making only 24 appearances that season.
The running man: –
It was the start of something special as Evra started to put in one great season after another and was one of the most consistent Manchester United players till his departure after the 2013/14 season.
Evra even captained United on several occasions and even won the 2009/10 League Cup as captain thus becoming the first French player after Eric Cantona to captain United to a major trophy.
Evra joined Juventus in July 2014 despite signing a new one year deal with United in May. He went on to make 379 appearances for United scoring a total of 10 goals for them in all competitions.
During his time with United he won the Premier League title 5 times, The League cup three times and the Champions League once.
8. Gary Neville
Gary Neville is one of those rare breeds of modern day footballers who are a part of the category “One club players.” Gary Neville joined the United youth team in 1991 and captained them to a FA Youth Cup in his very first season.
He made his senior debut the following year and within the next few seasons was able to establish himself as the first choice right-back for Alex Ferguson’s Devils.
Gary Neville was made the captain of the club after the departure of then captain Roy Keane in 2005. After playing nearly 20 years for United Gary Neville announced his retirement on the 2nd of February 2011.
Leader,Captain, Legend: –
The most famous Gary Neville moment would be his celebration after scoring an injury time winner against United’s arch rivals Liverpool in a league match in the 2005/06 season.
Neville after scoring the winner ran half way down the pitch towards the Liverpool fans to celebrate in front of them. He was fined for his actions and was warned not to repeat such actions.
He made a total of 602 appearances for United scoring at total of 7 goals. During his time with United he won the Premier league title 8 times, the FA Cup thrice, the League Cup twice and the Champions League twice.
7. Wayne Rooney
Rooney kicked off his footballing career with the Everton youth team joining them at the age of 9. By the age of 16 he managed to break into the Everton first team making his professional debut in August 2002 against Tottenham.
Rooney solidified himself as a first team player at Everton over the next couple of years. Rooney however handed in his transfer request at the beginning of the 2004/05 season and was lured away by Manchester United for 25.6 £ million and thus becoming the most expensive under 20 yr old.
Rooney made his debut for the Red Devils in a Champions League match against Fenerbache were he scored a hat-trick and provided an assist thus becoming the youngest player to score a hat-trick in the competition.
The charismatic Wayne Rooney: –
Rooney has been one of the most dependable players for United over the last 10 years and was given the opportunity to captain the club at the start of the 2014/15 season after then captain Nemanja Vidic left the club.
He has made 468 appearances for United till date (as of 8th of March 2015) scoring a total of 227 goals. During his time with United Rooney has won the Premier League 5 times, The League Cup twice and the Champions League once.
The captain still has many more years left in him and within a season or two should overtake the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton as the clubs leading scorer in all competitions and will certainly move up in the rankings.
6. David Beckham
Football’s ultimate poster child and a faithful Manchester United servant for more than 10 years, David Beckham was and still is one of most recognizable names in world football.
Beckham joined the Red Devils as a trainee in 1991 and was a part of a young Manchester United youth team along with the likes Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs that won the FA Youth Cup in 1992.
Soon after their triumph Beckham signed a professional contract with United. He was send on a short loan to Preston North End in the 1994/95 season and soon after returning to his parent club he would go on to cement his place in the first team.
Football’s ultimate poster child: –
The moment that kicked-off Beckham’s rise as a superstar was his goal against AFC Wimbledon during the 1996/97 season in United’s 3-0 against them. Beckham on noticing that the Wimbledon keeper was a long way off from his goal line shot from halfway line and beat the keeper to score.
Beckham would go on to make 394 appearances for the Red Devils scoring 85 goals in total before making the switch to Spanish giants Real Madrid during the summer of 2003.
During his time with Manchester United we went to win the Premier League title 6 times, The FA Cup twice and the Champions League once.
5. Edwin Van Der Sar
Throughout his playing career Edwin Van Der Sar was one of the best goalkeepers in the game. He kicked started his playing career with his hometown club of Ajax were he would go on to play for nearly nine years.
United were reportedly interested in signing the Van Der Sar from Ajax to replace the legendary keeper Peter Schmeichel but Juventus lured him away from United’s grasp. After another move to Premier League side Fulham Van Der Sar was finally signed by United at the age of 34 during the summer of 2005.
The ever dependable Van Der Sar (Incredible penalty saves against Chelsea): –
Van Der Sar during the 2009/10 season was pivotal to United that went on a 14 game run without conceding in the league and still holds the world record for going 1,311 consecutively without conceding a goal.
He went on to make 266 appearances for the club before announcing his retirement from the game during the summer of May, 2011.During his time with Manchester United he went on to win the Premier League title 4 times, the League Cup twice and the Champions League once.
4. Roy Keane
Arguably one of the greatest captains in English football. Roy Keane was an imposing figure to not only his opponents but also to his team-mates.
Keane joined United from Nottingham Forest before the start of the 1993/94 season for a then British record transfer fee of 3.75£ million. It took Keane only less than a season to establish himself as a first choice player in the team.
Keane was the perfect balance of a maniac and a great footballer. On the pitch there was always a hunger to win and outside the pitch there was a wild side to him that even terrified some of his teammates.
Keane will always be remembered for his performance in United’s 3-2 Champions league 2nd leg semi-final win versus Juventus. His inspirational play proved to be the catalyst as Manchester United overturned a 2 goal defect to win 3-2.
The “Unique” Roy Keane: –
He would however miss the final for picking up a yellow card for a foul on Zidane and watched from the sidelines as his team won the competition by beating Bayern Munich 2-1 in the final.
There were incidents like the Alf-Inge Haland incidents that brought his mad side to the public view but his performances on the pitch was always top nouch.
Keane would leave United in a bit of bad taste after bust-ups with Ferguson, the United management and with several of the players. He would ultimately leave the club by mutual consent and would end his playing career with Celtic.
Keane went on to make 480 appearances for United in all competition scoring a total of 51 goals. During his time with them he won the Premier League title 7 times, the FA cup 4 times and the Champions league once.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
Arguably one of the greatest players to ever play the beautiful game, Cristiano Ronaldo a three time Ballon d’Or winner started his road to greatness from the lush greens of Old Trafford.
Ronaldo started off his youth career at the age of 8 for an amateur youth team Andorinha. Within a few years Ronaldo was offered a youth contract with Portuguese club Sporting CP.
Ronaldo rise among the Sporting ranks was truly stunning as he became the only player to play for Sporting Under 16’s, 17’s,18’s, 2nd team and First team all in one season.
Several clubs including Liverpool, Arsenal and Barcelona had an eye on the young Ronaldo but Alex Ferguson got hold of the young talent after he saw the youngster during their 3-1 defeat against Sporting in the summer of 2003.
The Superstar in action: –
Ronaldo became United’s first ever Portuguese player and was chosen to wear the iconic no.7 shirt by Ferguson, a number which had been previously worn by the likes of George Best and David Beckham at the club.
Ronaldo would make his debut as substitute in a 4-0 home win versus Bolton Wanderers. His performances on the pitch gained admirers all round with Gary Neville even stating “I think Ronaldo can be one of the top footballers in the world”.
Ronaldo would quickly cement his place in the first team and would go onto play for United till the end of 2008/09 season making 292 appearances and scoring 118 goals.
His move to Real Madrid for 80£ million made him the most expensive transfer back then. During his time with United he would go onto win the Premier League title thrice, the Champions League once and the League Cup twice.
On pure talent is undoubtedly the best to player to have played for Ferguson in Manchester United but his lack of longevity with the club puts hims two places lower.
2. Paul Scholes
Another of United’s one club players, Paul Scholes along with the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville was part of Manchester United’s FA Youth Cup winning side of 1992.
Scholes turned professional in the summer of 1993 and was chosen to wear the number 24 shirt but would only make his debut for the club in the 1994/95 season. He scored a brace in his debut and helped his Manchester United team to a 2-1 win over Port Vale.
Scholes would go onto make 17 appearances in his first season scoring a total of 5 goals. Within the next few seasons Scholes would turn into a vital part of the Manchester United dominated English football for much of the 90’s and 2000’s.
Top 5 Paul Scholes goals: –
His love and dedication towards Manchester United led to his retirement from International football at the age of 30 as he wanted to prolong his Manchester United career.
Scholes would go on to retire from Manchester United for the first time at the end of the 2010/11 season and took up a coaching position with the club.
However Scholes would go on to reverse the decision during the 2011/12 season as he saw that the team was struggling with injuries. He would go on play till the end of 2012/13 season and retired with the unique record of scoring in every single season he has played in the Premier League.
The played his final game against West Brom in the final game of the 2012/13 season as a substitute thus bring to an end to a Manchester United career that lasted for nearly two decades.
He would go on to make 718 appearances for United in all competitions scoring a total of 155 goals.During his time with Manchester United he would go onto win 11 Premier League titles, 3 FA cups, 2 League Cups and 2 champions league titles.
1. Ryan Giggs
Who else can it be but Ryan Giggs? From a young talented prospect, to captain ,to assistant manager and then manager and all for Manchester United.
Giggs made his debut for United against Everton in the 1990/91 season at Old Trafford coming on as a substitute in a 2-0 loss. He captained the Manchester United Youth team that won the 1992 FA Youth Cup a team that had the likes of Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt and Robbie Savage in it.
It didn’t take the young winger long to cement his place in the first team by the age of 17 and became a regular starter by the early stages of the 1991/92 season. Giggs paved the way for many of his Youth Cup winning comrades into the Manchester United first team.
Ryan Giggs Best tricks and Skills: –
He was the Premier League’s first true global superstar. He career at United is one to marvel upon having dedicated 20 of his best years to the club. He retired from game at the end of 2013/14 season but only after managing the club during the last few games of the season.
He was never United’s permanent captain but did captain the team on various occasions. He scored in every single season he played for United from his debut in 1990/91 till 2012/13 but failed to score in his last season with them.
He went on to make 963 appearances for United in all competitions scoring a total of 168 goals. During his time tiwh United he went on to win the Premier league title 13 times, the FA cup 4 times, the League Cup thrice and the Champions league twice.
He currently works as the Louis Van Gaal’s assistant manager at Manchester United itself.
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