Football

Manchester United: Best XI of the 21st Century

Rooney & Ronaldo struck up a lethal partnership at Old Trafford (©GettyImages)
Rooney & Ronaldo struck up a lethal partnership at Old Trafford (©GettyImages).

Sir Alex Ferguson may have retired, but over the years he has worked with some of the best players in the world whilst in charge of Manchester United.

Here is a look at his best XI since the year 2000.

Goalkeeper: Edwin van der Sar

For a long time United struggled to replace the ‘great Dane’ Peter Schmeichel, before turning to Edwin van deer Sar in 2005.

The Dutch 'keeper made an instant impact, following his arrival from Fulham, becoming an essential part of the United team. His contributions led to two successive Premier League titles, and also a Champions League winners' medal thanks to his fantastic performance in the penalty shoot-out.

He also set a new Premier League record when he went eleven games without conceding a goal. This level of consistency resulted in him being known as ‘Van Der save’ by the United fans.

Right-back: Gary Neville

Gary Neville is a member of an elite group of players that have played for just club in their entire career.

As a local lad, Neville graduated through the ranks of United’s youth system, before breaking into the first team in the early nineties. From that point he point he remained first-choice right-back until the end of his career, forming a devastating partnership with David Beckham down the right wing.

He was awarded the captaincy, following the departure of Roy Keane in 2005; surely an honour for someone with Manchester United in his heart.

Centre-back: Nemanja Vidic

The Serbian has built up one of the best defensive partnerships in the world, alongside Rio Ferdinand at the heart of the Manchester United defence.

His physical strength and no nonsense attitude to defending have made him one of the most feared centre backs in the Premier League.

Centre-back: Jaap Stam

Dutch defender Jaap Stam spent three seasons at Old Trafford, before being controversially sold in 2001 after falling out with Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, during his time in Manchester, he won six trophies including three league titles - partly because of the solid partnership of him and Mikael Silvestre in the United defence.

Left-back: Patrice Evra

Since arriving from Monaco in 2006, Patrice Evra has made the left-back spot his own.

He is fearless in the tackle and also thrives on getting forward, offering support in Manchester United attacks at every opportunity.

During his time at the club, he has won 15 major honours - most recently the 2012/13 Premier League title.

Right-wing: Cristiano Ronaldo

Bought as an 18-year-old from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo went on to become one of the best players in the history of the Premier League.

During his six years at the club, Ronaldo won eight trophies including three league titles and the Champions League, contributing 118 goals in the process.

He terrorised defences on a regular basis, with his phenomenal speed and fantastic ability on the ball; not to mention his deadly eye for goal. He still remains the most expensive player of all time, following his £80m move to Real Madrid in 2009.

Centre-midfielder: Roy Keane

As a player, Roy Keane epitomised everything that is required to be a successful Manchester United player.

He is passionate, determined, and has a huge desire to win at any cost. He is not known for his technical ability, but he could always be relied upon to throw his body on the line for the United cause; often engaging in fierce battles with the likes of Patrick Vieira.

Centre-midfielder: Paul Scholes

The term ‘legend’ is overused in football, but when it comes to Paul Scholes it is a perfect description.

Throughout his career he has conducted himself with dignity both on and off the pitch - and he is a role model to up and coming midfielders. His phenomenal passing range, tough tackling and desire to be the best, have made him a hugely respected figure throughout world football.

Left-wing: Ryan Giggs

No one will ever come close to Ryan Giggs, in terms of individual success.

He has more medals than some teams as a whole and he still has the desire to win more; even though he is approaching 40. Incredibly he is not yet considering retirement as he still has the drive, determination and physical fitness that he had 20 years ago.

For years he has terrorised defences and he has the brilliant record of scoring in every Premier League campaign since it started in 1992.

Striker: Wayne Rooney

Eyebrows were raised when Ferguson spent £30m on an 18-year-old, but Wayne Rooney has more than done his bit to pay back the fee.

He made an instant impact, scoring a hat trick on his debut against Fenerbahçe, and has scored many other crucial goals during his time at the club, including the goal that ended Arsenal’s unbeaten run.

However, it is not just his goalscoring ability for which he is known, but also his work ethic, determination and desire to help the team be successful.

He is now regarded as one of the best players in the world.

Striker: Ruud van Nistelrooy

Ruud van Nistelrooy remains one of the most clinical strikers ever to play for Manchester United, notching his 150 goals in less than 200 appearances.

His major contributions included scoring twice against Millwall in the 2004 FA Cup final, and scoring over 20 league goals in three consecutive seasons.

Substitutes:

David De Gea
Rio Ferdinand
John O'Shea
Michael Carrick
David Beckham
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Teddy Sherringham

 

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DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

 

Topics:
Wayne Rooney
Football
Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United

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