In this article, we take a look at the rich history of Manchester United and select the best footballers who ever played for red devils, how many of this best Manchester United XI of all time players can you guess?
There is no doubt that Manchester United is one of the best English football clubs out there and with a long and rich 142 years old history, some great players have played for them. To tell you the truth, the list of great Manchester United footballers are so long that it gave us a real headache to come out with this list and choose the best Manchester United XI of all time.
One interesting fact about our best Manchester United XI of all time is that almost all of them are from Great Britain and only three of them are non-British. Before getting down to the list and finding out which Man United players have found their way to the all-time greatest XI of Manchester United, let’s take a brief look at this club’s history.
Throughout the Industrial Revolution, Manchester was among the fastest-growing towns, and more so thanks to a torrent of immigrants coming from various areas of the British Islands. By 1900, Manchester had reached one million inhabitants from a comparatively small town in the early 19th century and had been one of the largest cities in Europe. The circumstances for the advent of football clubs were great; the sport was however, dominated to a large degree by workers in its early history.
Initially established in 1878, the team that would eventually become Manchester United FC was called Newton Heath L&YR Football Club. L&YR as in the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company, the company where some of the club players of worked there.
Manchester United has long upheld a proud legacy, a record of continuous accomplishment, and a fantastic history as one of the most successful football clubs. Along with Liverpool, they became the most popular football team in England. "The Red Devils" has more national trophies than Liverpool, but in major competitions, Liverpool has won more titles.
Did you know that each of the top three players of this list of Manchester United's best ever XI has played more than 700 matches for the club during their careers with one of them playing almost 1000 matches? Stay tuned to find out what players we are talking about in our list of Manchester United's greatest XI of all time.
Peter Schmeichel, one of the greatest Danish stars to ever play in the Premier League, is our chosen goalkeeper in the list of best Manchester United XI of all time. Schmeichel, known as the Great Dane among the club fans, is popular for his great performances during 99's team that did the treble. Yet his super-competitiveness and limitless inspiration together with his high goalkeeping abilities make him one of Old Trafford's strongest goalkeepers ever. It was a no brainer.
Born in 1963, Peter Schmeichel joined Red Devils after establishing himself as Brondby in 1991 for a fee of £505,000. Sir Alex Ferguson later said that the signing of Schmeichel for Man United was the “Bargain of the Century”. For 8 seasons between 1991 and 1999, he played 292 league matches for Manchester United. Peter Schmeichel has also played 129 for his country Denmark, scoring 1 goal!
During his spell and Man United, Schmeichel has won several titles including 5 Premier Leagues, 3 FA Cups, 1 Football League Cup, 1 UEFA Champions League in famous 1998-99 season and one European Super Cup among others. During his spell with the Man United, he managed to win the UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year award three times.
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Neville would readily admit he was never the most naturally gifted member of the many United squads he represented, but his determination and consistency offered our best teams backbone and resilience. His relationships on the right flank with David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo might have operated very differently, but Neville’s intelligent appreciation of their skills – and shortcomings – allowed both to flourish. Off the pitch, particularly in the years after Roy Keane’s departure, the elder of the Neville brothers was also a vital influence in preserving the winning culture embedded by Ferguson and his earlier sides.
As a one-man club, Gary Neville joined Man United in 1992 and managed to play 400 league matches for the club, scoring 5 goals in a career which lasted until 2011. As the right-back of best Manchester United XI of all time, he is also a member of the “Class of 92” alongside Beckham, Scholes and others. Gary Neville has also played 85 matches for England. After 20 years of playing for the Red Devils, he eventually retired from playing football at 2011 as the best right back in our list of Manchester United best 11 of all time.
Gary Neville has won 8 Premier League title, 2 UEFA Champions League title, 3 FA Cups and many other honors during his career at Manchester United. He was also selected in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year 5 times and also the PFA Team of the Century. He will always be remembered as the best right-back in Manchester United's greatest all-time XI.
In 2002, when Man United paid £30 million to sign Rio Ferdinand from Leeds United, lots of people were surprised and said he does not deserve such money. Ferdinand would go on to distinguish himself as being one of the new generation's greatest centre-backs. The former West Ham United player was among the first centre-backs to play from the defensive line, well-known for his composure in defence, and also his passing skill. He established an impressive defensive relationship with Nemanja Vidic, winning every imaginable trophy with the team.
Rio Ferdinand is one of the Centre Backs we have chosen for best Manchester United XI of all time. He started his professional football career at West Ham United and he played for two seasons at Leeds United before signing for the Red Devils and becoming the best Centre Back in Manchester United best 11 of all time. During his time at Man United, he has won several titles including 6 Premier League titles, 2 Football League Cup and one UEFA Champions League among others.
A strong and efficient defender in our list of best Manchester United XI of all time, Steve Bruce was the backbone of United's success in the 1990s. He has a great goalscoring talent too as he scored 51 goals during his career as a defender. Bruce still displayed tremendous spirit and inspiration while he was on the field, and his effect on United was amazing. He definitely fits as one of the two centre backs in the list of Manchester United best XI of all time.
Steve Brue signed for the club in 1987, playing his first match for them in the December of that year. During his 9 year spell with the club between 1987 and 1996, Steve Bruce played a total of 414 matches for the club, scoring 51 goals. He has won 3 Premier League title, 3 FA Cups and one European Cup Winners’ Cup among many others with the Red Devils. Bruce, as a centre back of the Manchester United best 11 of all time has also selected in the Premier League 10 Seasons Awards Domestic Team of the Decade.
To select the best left-back of Manchester United's greatest all-time XI we had a few doubts between Denis Irwin and Patrice Evra, however Denis Irwin gets the nod for being influential in the earlier title wins of Sir Alex Ferguson and the treble-winning season of 1998-99. There's a justification the Scot claimed Irwin was meant to be the very first name on the team of the Manchester United's greatest XI of all time when he hardly made an error in his 529 club games. Fast, two-footed, a modest hard worker and a set-piece expert, he was a sensational player for the club.
Having joined the club from Oldham Athletic in 1990, he managed to play 368 league matches for Man United and scoring 22 goals until he left the Red Devils for Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2002. He has also played 56 matches for the Republic of Ireland, scoring 4 goals. He has 7 Premier League, 2 FA Cup, 1 UEFA Champions League and one European Cup Winners' Cup title wins to his name with Manchester United and will always be remembered as the best left-back in the all-time greatest XI of Manchester United.
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Paul Scholes is arguably one of the greatest midfielders to ever play the game and one of the most famous faces in best Manchester United XI of all time. Scholes was a physical footballer who rose through the youth ranks at the Man United's academy and managed to play 19 seasons for Manchester United seasons. He was a skilled passer of the ball who was technically brilliant and ran a majority of the show in the midfield of Red Devils, while still covering a lot of ground in the defensive line.
After playing in the youth teams of Man United for two seasons, he signed a professional contract at the 1993-1994 season and played a total of 718 matches, scoring 155 goals in all competitions. He has won 11 Premier League title and two Champions League titles with the club and as the best CM in the Manchester United's best ever XI, he has many individual honors to his name including two Premier League PFA Team of the Year.
As one of the members of the best Manchester United XI of all time, Sir Bobby Charlton is a true legend for the club. He endured the Munich Tragedy in '58 and guided United to capture their very first European crown 10 years later. He was an outstanding player who his loyalty and commitment to Manchester United never ever came into doubt. He definitely deserves a place in Manchester United best XI of all time. The stuff he did for the Red Devils on the pitch were unbelievable.
As one of the players who rose through the youth ranks of the club, he started playing for the first team in 1956. After playing for around 17 years at the club between 1956 and 1973, playing in 606 league matches and scoring 199 goals, he eventually signed for Preston North End in 1974. The best Attacking midfielder in our list of Manchester United best 11 of all time, Charlton has also won 106 caps for England, scoring 49 goals.
At Man United, he has won 3 Football League First Division title and one European Cup among many others. Charlton has won many individual titles namely FWA Footballer of the Year, FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, Ballon d'Or and PFA Merit Award.
During his tenure at Old Trafford, Ronaldo defined himself as one of the best Manchester United XI of all time players, even though there was much more coming from the Portuguese, as he went to play at Real Madrid.
In 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo joined Manchester United, the very same summer that Beckham left to join Real Madrid, and he managed to have one of the most unforgettable debuts in the history of Red Devils when he starred for a brief appearance in Bolton Wanderers' 4-0 drubbing. Ronaldo needed some time to really shine, but he entered a treasure trove of form after getting back from the 2006 World Cup in Germany, a form that still continues, some 14 years later.
Few would ignore the tremendous influence of former No. 7 between 2006 and 2009, as Man United captured three successive titles in those wonderful years, mostly due to the 66 goals he scored in the Premier to become one of the best players of Manchester United's greatest all-time XI.
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Ryan Giggs is easily the best player to ever play for Manchester United. He played a record 963 matches for the club and managed to score in 21 consecutive Premier League seasons, he has also been part of each single Premier League winning team Sir Alex Ferguson ever built. It doesn't come as a surprise that the Welshman is amongst the players who was always praised by the Sir Alex Ferguson and he is definitely a part of the best Manchester United XI of all time.
Ryan Giggs has won the Premier League title an impressive 13 times, shaping every single victory with his spectacular dribbling, tight control, and awesome accuracy. Players came and gone in the 22 seasons of the Premier League, in which Giggs was the backbone of the squad, making opportunities, attracting audiences and adding to the cause with his great performances.
His success makes him among the most respected football players in history, but it's easy to forget how entertaining Giggs was in his younger days, and how amazing he turned himself into a more stable, economical – but equally successful – player later in his professional career. He will always be a part of each and every all-time greatest XI of Manchester United.
Considered as a tremendous talent throughout his early days at Everton, Wayne Rooney transferred to Manchester United at the age of 18 in 2004. United paid £25.6 million for him, which was at the time a record transfer fee ever paid for a young footballer. However he justified all that money the club paid for him, and more. On his first match for the club, he managed to score a hat trick in a match versus Fenerbahce in the UEFA Champions League and kept on playing at the highest level and scoring goals for the club. A talented and athletic forward, he was able to play in several offensive roles and was later used as a middleman by Louis van Gaal.
He is the all time top scorer of Manchester United and also England national team. The England international, who will be a member of best Manchester United XI of all time, has played in more than 550 games in 13 years with the Manchester United, scoring 253 times. He quit the club in 2017 and went back to his former club Everton. He's now featuring in the championship for Derby County.
While he was predominantly a forward, he played excellently in any role in the centre and offensive lines, and he was always ready to compromise himself for the higher needs of the squad. A brilliant goal scorer, and a beautifully talented all-rounder, he is definitely one of the best forwards in Manchester United's best ever XI.
Eric Cantona, lovingly nicknamed "King Eric" by the supporters of Man United, was truly one of the greatest footballers to ever play for Red Devils and he was able to transform the club after he signed for them. In 1992, for a fee of £ 1.2 million, the French international decided to join Old Trafford from Leeds United. The collar turned up, the persona of Cantona brought spice to Manchester United. Cantona was more than just a player for the supporters, he was a strong striker well appreciated for his finishing and goal-scoring skills. For the remainder of Sir Alex Ferguson's reign, he brought panache and a winning attitude that would reverberate throughout the club.
With far more Premier League goals scored than Eric Cantona's 64, there are many Manchester United forwards, namely Andy Cole, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ruud van Nistelrooy, but none of them can match his talismanic influence on the club. The Red Devils had not won the league for 25 years until Cantona came. The team had won four titles in five years by the time he retired from playing professional football in 1997. During Cantona's period, the only season of disappointment was 1994/95, a campaign that Cantona skipped nearly half of that because of the lengthy nine-month ban. Eric was a major driver for the revival of United, and in all four of the Premier League victories he helped secure, he was crucial.
He is definitely one of the best forward to feature in the Manchester United's greatest XI of all time, ahead of a host of outstanding players including the Mark Hughes, Solskjaer and Cole, plus Dwight Yorke, Robin Van Persie and van Nistelrooy.