At the end of the season, Manchester United’s most successful manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, will retire from football management.
After managing St Mirren and Aberdeen, he made the move to Manchester, and 26 years later, he ends his career.
Through the years, he has managed some great talent. Here is the team of the best talent Ferguson has had at his disposal.
Goalkeeper: Peter Schmeichel
The Dane is one of the greatest United keepers of all time, and an inspiration to any young keeper. He was voted the World’s Best Goalkeeper in both 1992 and 1993, and rounded off his career at United by winning the Champions League in 1999. He’s even scored for United, one of two goals in his 22-year career.
Right-back: Gary Neville
Former United captain Gary Neville has to go down as one of their greatest right-backs. His 19-year career was spent solely at United, and in that time he helped them win 20 trophies, seven as captain. He has to go down as Fergie’s greatest right-back.
Centre-back: Jaap Stam
Jaap Stam was a rock solid centre-back in his playing days. The Dutchman’s solid defensive work was key to United’s Champions League success in 1998/99. This led to him being voted UEFA Defender of the Year two seasons running.
In his three seasons at Old Trafford, he won three Premier League titles. After his third title, he was sold in controversial circumstances in 2001 to Lazio after a fall out with Ferguson. He still remains one of the Fergie’s best centre-halves.
Centre-back: Nemanja Vidic
Vidic has been a key figure in some of United’s recent successes since Ferguson signed him in January 2006. United have won the league five times in his spell at the club, and he was also key to their 2008 Champions League success.
Left-back: Denis Irwin
Irwin was another key full-back to play at Old Trafford. In his twelve years at the club, he played 296 times. A specialist at set-pieces and penalties, Irwin scored some key goals for United. He left in 2002 to go to Wolves, and he will be remembered by Ferguson as one of the more underrated players to have worked under him.
Despite injuries holding him back in recent seasons, Vidic would form a formidable partnership with Stam in the Fergie XI.
Right-wing: David Beckham
Who could forget the influence of David Beckham at Manchester United?
62 goals in 265 appearances were vital at times in United’s quest for trophies. His free-kicks and crossing ability brought many goals at vital times, and who can forget his goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon in 1996.
Also famed for the moment Sir Alex kicked a boot at him, Beckham enjoyed a fruitful ten years at United before moving to Real Madrid in the summer of 2003.
Centre-midfielder: Roy Keane (captain)
Roy Keane partners Scholes in this team, and has been named captain due to his strength, determination and leadership in midfield. The tough-tackling Irishman spent 12 years at the club, rounding off his spell there with an FA Cup in 2004.
He rounded off his career at Celtic, but he will be most commonly remembered for his fruitful yet controversial spell at United.
Centre-midfielder: Paul Scholes
Yet another player to have played for Manchester United their whole senior career is Paul Scholes.
Currently in his second playing spell after originally retiring in 2011, Scholes has been a key figure in the middle of the park for United. Him and Keane played together for several years and their dominance in midfield led them to many wins and many honours through Scholes’ 20-year career. Fergie will be thankful he’s back in his ranks.
Left-wing: Ryan Giggs
Ryan Giggs has been present in the United squad in every one of the 21 Premier League seasons so far, scoring in every one of them. 23 years at Old Trafford have brought him 34 trophies, and he is still playing today aged 39.
The Welshman, who was also inducted to the English Football Hall of Fame in 2005, will see out his career at Old Trafford as a club legend in everybody's eyes, including Ferguson’s.
Striker: Cristiano Ronaldo
The Portuguese playmaker announced himself as one of the best players in the world in his six years at the club. 84 goals in 196 games helped United to three consecutive Premier League titles and a Champions League.
Winning the Ballon d’Or in 2008 was the peak of his greatness in Manchester. He was eventually sold to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 for a world record £80m.
Striker: Eric Cantona
Rounding off my team is French striker Eric Cantona. A key but at times controversial character, Cantona spent four seasons at United in which he helped them win four Premier League titles.
“King Eric” was one of a number of legends to wear the number seven shirt, and he was voted United’s greatest player as well. He finished his career at United and gave Fergie both some of best and worst moments in his spell at Manchester United.
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