Rooney, Charlton, Best, Scholes, Giggs: Manchester United's 50 greatest players ranked

Keane and Rooney Man Utd

Who is Manchester United’s greatest ever player?

It’s some question to consider when you think of the outrageous amount of world class talent that has passed through England’s most famous club.

Since the Premier League was re-branded in 1992 United have swept up a record 13 titles, so the top 50 is understandably full of modern greats.

However, the Red Devils were always a pretty big deal even before their modern successes and older fans would have witnessed the brilliance of the likes of George Best, Bryan Robson and Bobby Charlton to name just a few.

Therefore deciphering the GOAT from the legends will always be a subjective and largely controversial task.

A task that practically all of you will – and should – disagree with somewhere along the line.

And at the end of the day, that’s what makes debating these topics fun.

So, without further ado, let’s get into what FourFourTwo believe to be United’s 50 finest.

Manchester United’s 50 greatest players

50. Teddy Sheringham (1997-2001)
49. Harry Greg (1957-1966)
48. Stan Pearson (1936-1954)
47. Johnny Carey (1946-1953)
46. Jaap Stam (1998-2001)
45. Tony Dunne (1960-1973)
44. Brian Kidd (1967-1974)
43. Dwight Yorke (1998-2002)
42. Andy Cole (1995-2001)
41. Arthur Albiston (1936-1954)

Jaap Stam United
Jaap Stam arsenal

A fair few old timers between 41-50 with only a handful of players appearing for United in the 21st century.

Stam was a formidable force at Old Trafford after signing from PSV. He won the treble in his first season at the club and undoubtedly would have been much lower on this list if he’d have stayed longer than three years.

40. Paul Ince (1989-1995)
39. Sammy Mcllroy (1971-1982)
38. Liam ‘Billy’ Whelan (1953-1958)
37. Michael Carrick (2006-2018)
36. Paddy Crerand (1963-1971)
35. Steve Coppell (1975-1983)
34. Paul McGrath (1982-1989)
33. Brian McClair (1987-1998)
32. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (1996-2007)
31. Edwin van der Sar (2005-2011)

Edwin van der Sar celebrates a Man United goal
Edwin van der Sar celebrates a Man United goal

Is it just us or does it feel like Van der Sar was between the sticks at Old Trafford for a hell of a lot longer? That’s probably testament to everything he achieved with the club.

Meanwhile, former boss Solskjaer finds himself in 32nd place overall. His 11 year commitment to the club as a player followed by the two years he spent in the dugout will forever make him a fan favourite.

Current first team coach Carrick also finds himself in this category, placing 37th overall.

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30. Gary Pallister (1989-1998)
29. Norman Whiteside (1982-1989)
28. Patrice Evra (2006-2014)
27. Steve Bruce (1987-1996)
26. Martin Buchan (1972-1983)
25. Mark Hughes (1980-1986, 1988-1995)
24. Nemanja Vidic (2006-2014)
23. Dennis Viollet (1953-1962)
22. David De Gea (2011-present)
21. Nobby Stiles (1960-1971)

Vidic Man Utd
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 15: Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on December 15, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Wow, you know it’s a competitive environment when Vidic barely breaches the top 25. Many consider the Serbian to be amongst the Premier League’s greatest centre-backs ever.

Bruce and Hughes went on to enjoy exceptional careers in management, so it’s easy to forget that they’re both United legends from the 1980’s and 1990’s – proper football men those two.

20. Ruud van Nistelrooy (2001-2006)
19. Bill Foulkes (1950-1970)
18. Dennis Irwin (1990-2002)
17. Tommy Taylor (1953-1958)
16. Roger Byrne (1951-1958)
15. Gary Neville (1992-2011)
14. David Beckham (1993-2003)
13. Roy Keane (1993-2005)
12. Cristiano Ronaldo (2003-2009, 2021-present)
11. Rio Ferdinand (2002-2014)

Keane and Beckham for Man Utd

No Ronaldo in the top 10? We think that’s fair enough given this is an assessment of him as a United player, although he did win the Ballon d’Or whilst at the club in 2008.

Part of the infamous class of 92′ in Neville and Beckham also just about miss out, along with notorious hard man Keane and iconic centre-back Ferdinand.

10. Paul Scholes (1991-2013)
9. Wayne Rooney (2004-2017)
8. Peter Schmeichel (1991-1999)
7. Duncan Edwards (1953-1958)
6. Dennis Law (1962-1973)
5. Eric Cantona (1992-1997)
4. Bryan Robson (1981-1994)
3. George Best (1963-1974)
2. Bobby Charlton (1953-1973)
1. Ryan Giggs (1987-2014)

Ryan Giggs

So there you have it, legendary Welsh winger Giggs takes top spot after making a record 963 appearances for the club.

The remainder of the podium consists of footballing royalty in Charlton and Best – two totally opposing players and personalities, but legends in their own right.

The top 10 also sparks up the one and only controversial decision that we feel needs raising…

Schmeichel over Rooney?! The Dane was a top class keeper but we feel that does Rooney a disservice.

But anyway, all things considered that was a great effort from FourFourTwo.

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