GEORGE BEST – The Northern Irishman eventually became as famous for his off-field problems as his performances on the pitch but he remains the most talented player in the club’s history.
SIR BOBBY CHARLTON – Strong, dignified and also supremely talented, Charlton embodied much of what Manchester United are all about.
DENIS LAW – Scottish striker Law scored 171 goals in 305 League games in the ’60s and ’70s with an amazing arsenal of long-range strikes, overhead kicks, headers and tap-ins.
ERIC CANTONA – The most popular Manchester United player of the 1990s at Old Trafford, Cantona had a short fuse which he combined perfectly with sublime flair to become a hero for the Red Devils.
PETER SCHMEICHEL – A monstrous goalkeeper, “The Great Dane” was another key component of United’s treble-winning side of 1999. Never afraid to bark orders.
BRYAN ROBSON – Sir Alex Ferguson’s “Captain Marvel” when they took the Premiership by storm before the Millennium. Robson’s perceived lack of charisma does not detract from his legendary status.
NOBBY STILES – Famous for his “jig” after England won the World Cup at Wembley in 1966, Stiles was a midfielder famous for his never-say-die attitude and crunching tackles.
ROGER BYRNE – The captain of the famous Busby Babes side which inspired such adoration in the 1950s, Byrnes was a likeable, charismatic defender, winning three League titles before his death in the Munich air disaster.
MARK HUGHES – Another fiery live wire of the same mould as Cantona and Keane, Hughes was hugely popular at Old Trafford, teaming up with Ferguson twice to great effect.
DUNCAN EDWARDS – Many believe Edwards would have been the greatest player in United’s history and even better than Bobby Moore had his career not been cut tragically short when he was killed in the Munich air disaster, aged just 21.
Stars of the Current Squad
Edwin Van der Sar is a Dutch goalkeeper and the captain of the Dutch national team. In 1990, he joined the Ajax’s youth centre. In 9 years with Ajax, he played in 226 games, won the 1992 UEFA Cup and the 1995 Champions League. He then moved to Juventus for 2 years making only 66 appearances and eventually lost his place to Gianluigi Buffon. He joined the Premiership with Fullham in 2001 for around £7.7 million. He has been playing for Manchester since 2005, Sir Alex Fergusson consider him as one of the best goalkeeper in the world. Van der Sar’s solid presence, agility and reliability have been crucial to United’s success in recent years. He started his international career in 1995 against Belarus, and has played in all the major international competitions since then. On October 2007, he said he intends to retire from international football following the 2008 Euro.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese right winger/striker. The wonder boy from Ilha da Madeira joined local Nacional before going to Sporting in Lisbon. In 2003, after a friendly between Sporting and Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson decided to go for the boy, at that time only 18 years old, and signed him for £12.24 million. He was presented at Old Trafford weeks after David Beckham left the club to join Real Madrid. He was handed the number 7 shirt, a shirt number that has belonged to some of the greatest Manchester United legends, such as George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and Beckham. With a difficult start, he finally became the most important player of the team. Last season, after a polemic game between England and Portugal in Germany, Ronaldo became hated by most of the English fans, except the Red Devils’ ones as Cristiano became the best player of the season at Manchester side. So far, he has 228 appearances and scored 84 goals.
Wayne Rooney is an English striker, and is always where he is supposed to be! Opportune like no other, he’s the key reference to every play in the English team. Rooney never gives up on a ball and is one of the top strikers in the powerful offensive line of Manchester United with Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez. He started his professional career in 2002 with Everton, before joining United in 2004 for £23 million. In his first game at Old Trafford, he produced a stunning display to blast an unforgettable debut hat-trick against Fenerbahce! Sir Alex Ferguson describes him as “the best young player I have seen in my time”. He has scored a total of 72 goals in 179 appearances. Gary Neville is an English defender. He started his professional career in 1992 with the Reds, and has been playing for them since then. In December 2005, Gary was appointed the new captain of Manchester United, following Roy Keane’s departure. He enters every game refusing to contemplate defeat, and the fans love him for it. He has won an impressive amount of trophies, with seven Premiership titles, three FA Cups, one European Cup and one League Cup! Since his debut with the Red Devils, he has played in 540 matches and scored 7 goals! His brother Phil Neville is a former player of United (1993-2005). Gary Neville made his debut with the English National Team in 1995, in a friendly against Japan and has earned 85 caps so far.
Rio Ferdinand is an English centre back. He started his professional career in 1995 with West Ham United. In 2000, he joined Leeds United for a £18 million transfer fee, becoming the world’s most expensive defender. On July 22, 2002, he signed with United for £29.1 million! One of the best defenders in the world, he has an incredible reading of the game. In September 2003, he missed a routine drugs test and, despite appealing, was banned from playing for 8 months in January 2004. He has a personal record of 255 appearances and 7 goals. On November 15 1997, he made his international debut with England in a friendly against Cameroon, making him the youngest defender to play for England at 19 years and 8 Days old at that time. He was named captain of England for the friendly against France on March 26, 2008.
Sir Bobby Charlton is a former English striker. He played almost his entire career at Manchester United and was well-known for his attacking instincts and his amazing long-range shot. He started his professional career in 1954 with United. Having survived the Munich air disaster, he played as if every game was for his fallen colleagues. One of the Busby Babes, he played a record of 754 games, scoring 247 goals, holding both appearances and goals records in United’s history. Named European Footballer of the Year in 1966, he also won the World Cup with England the same year. Part of the famed Best-Law-Charlton triumvirate, he retired in 1973. In June 1984 Charlton became a director of Manchester United, a position he still holds today.
George Best was a Northern Irish winger. He started his professional career in 1963 with Manchester United at the age of 17. Spotted by United scout Bob Bishop, who famously told Matt Busby: “Boss, I think I’ve found you a genius”, he was one of the key players alongside Bobby Charlton and Dennis Law in United’s first European Cup in 1968. Nicknamed The Fifth Beatle for his long hair, good looks and extravagant celebrity lifestyle, he was named European Footballer of the Year in 1968 and won 2 League titles and the 1968 European Cup with the Reds. In 1974, he left United with 470 appearances and 179 goals! He then joined several clubs in Australia, Scotland and in the US. He played his first international game with Northern Ireland in 1964 and scored a total of 9 goals in 37 caps. He died on December 3, 2005 at the age of 59: 100,000 people were at his funeral in Belfast.
Dennis Law is a former Scottish striker. He started his professional career in 1956 at second division Huddersfield Town. In 1960, Manchester City signed him for a transfer fee of £55,000, setting a new British record. A year later, he was bought by Italian club Torino for £110,000. He spent only one year in Italy, having a difficult time to settle there. In 1962, he signed with Manchester United for £115,000, setting another British record. In 11 years with the Reds, he won 2 league titles, 1 FA Cup and the 1968 European Cup. He scored a total of 237 goals in 404 appearances. He was named European Footballer of the Year in 1964 and was nicknamed The King and The Lawman by supporters. He left United in 1973 and joined Manchester City. Law also played for Scotland, making his international debut in 1958. He earned 55 caps and scored 30 goals for his national team.
Roy Keane is a former Irish midfielder. He started his professional career in 1990 with Nottingham Forrest. He then signed with United in 1993 for £3.75 million, a British transfer record at the time. In his first season, he won the club’s first ever double League title and FA Cup! In 1995, younger players such as David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes were brought into the team, which left Keane as the most experienced player in midfield. That season, Keane won his second double in 3 years! He took over the United captaincy from Eric Cantona at the start of the 1997/98 campaign, but he missed most of the season due to a knee ligament injury! He returned for the 1998-1999 season, and was one of the key players in United’s Treble (Premiership, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League). In 2000, he was named Footballer of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year. On November 18, 2005, he left Manchester United with a personal record of 480 appearances and 51 goals scored, and joined Celtic. Six months after joining Celtic and helping them secure the Scottish Premier League title and Scottish League Cup, Keane announced his retirement from professional football. Manchester United….