Following on from the top 10 Newcastle and Tottenham foreigners to grace St James Park and White Hart Lane this week, I will now go through my top ten foreigners to grace Old Trafford. There have been many great foreigners to play at Old Trafford over the years, so I will restrict this list to just the Sir Alex Ferguson era. I’m going to include a mix of players in different positions and anyone born outside of Great Britain is eligible. So here are my top 10 foreigners to play for United, in no particular order:
Just edges out the likes of Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra for this final spot, purely because of the length of time he was at Old Trafford. Irwin was consistent, solid and extremely dependable, he could play either full back postion and was an expert at free kicks and penalties.
Stam became the world’s most expensive defender when he signed from PSV for £10.75 million. A rock at the back, the Dutchman helped United win the treble in his first season and was excellent in his time at United. Sold to Lazio in 2001 after allegations in his autobiography that Sir Alex “tapped” him up when he was at PSV.
Signed for £12.6 million in 1998 from Aston Vila, Yorke was a key member of United’s treble-winning team and formed a highly successful partnership with Andy Cole. Scored 18 league goals in his first season, and then 22 goals in his second season at Old Trafford.
Kanchelskis’ blistering pace and skils on the right wing was a massive success at Old Trafford, and perfectly complimented a young Ryan Giggs on the left. The Russian international scored 48 goals for United in 145 games.
The ultimate impact player or “super sub”. An excellent finisher, the Norwegian is most notable for scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final and scoring 4 goals in the last 12 mintues, in a 8-1 rout of Nottingham Forest. Injuries plagued the “Baby Face Assassin” in later years, but Solskjaer was a great player for United over the years.
The Dutchman defined the word “prolific” in his stint at Old Trafford. Van Nistelrooy was the ultimate poacher and excellent at scoring from anywhere in the box. Scored 150 goals in 220 games for United, and in my opinion should not have been sold to Real Madrid in 2006.
The Great Dane is one of the best ever goalkeepers and the best ever to play for United. His intimidating physique deterred opposing strikers from scoring, His long throws made Schmeichel a great attacking threat and he was known for screaming at his own defenders most of the time. Schmeichel holds the Premiership record of the best clean sheets to games ratio, with 42 per cent.
Dominating, aggressive and highly competitive, Keane was one of the best midfielders in the world when he was at Old Trafford. Captaining the side from 1997-2005, Keane was a great leader and was known to publicly slate his team mates if he felt their standards fell below his.
Transformed himself from a stepover king and one-trick pony when he first joined United to the best player in the world. Ronaldo was named World Player of the Year in 2008, after scoring 42 goals for United that season.
“King Eric” was a controversial but brilliant figure at Old Trafford. He gained infamy with that kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan, and was banned for 8 months as a result. But you cannot deny Cantona’s brilliance, he was capable of the spectacular and was loved by United fans everywhere.
Honourable mentions: Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic, Carlos Tevez
Any glaring ommisions??
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