|Triple Crown in 1999|
This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club. The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.
Even before the arrival Sir Alex Ferguson in 1986, Manchester United was the most popular club in England, despite not being the most successful side. The Busby Babe created a lot of excitement for English football and then, the Munich air disaster turned the Red Devils into a team that everyone with a heart to follow. By the late 1960's, the Trinity of Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best represented three parts of the United Kingdom. They appealed to the fans from Scotland, Northern Ireland and England. In 1968, Manchester United became the first English side to win the European Cup.
After the formation of the Premiership, they became the most successful club in English domestic football overtaking Liverpool for winning the most number of league titles.
|2008 Champions' League|
GK: Peter Schmeichel (Denmark)
He was regarded as one of the greatest keeper of all-time. He was voted the "World's Best Goalkeeper" in 1992 and 1993. He is best remembered for his most successful years at Manchester United, whom he captained to the 1999 UEFA Champions League to complete the Treble, and for winning UEFA Euro 1992 with Denmark.
Van Der Sar is the most capped player in Holland's history with 130 caps. He went to 1994, 1998 and 2006 World Cup and Euro 1996, 2000 and 2004. He was best remembered for being the Ajax keeper in 1995 that won the Champions' League and then, later for Manchester United for 6 seasons. He won the Champions' League in 2007-2008. In between, he also played with Fulham and Juventus.
GK: Alex Stepney (England)
Stepney played with Millwall before joining Chelsea. he only played one game and was sold to Manchester United to replace Harry Greg who was injured during the Munich Disaster. Stepney helped the Red Devils to win the 1968 European Cup.
RB/LB: John Carey (Ireland/N.Ireland)
He was also a dual internationalist, playing for and captaining both Ireland teams – the FAI XI and the IFA XI. In 1949, he was voted the FWA Footballer of the Year and in the same year captained the FAI XI that defeated England, becoming the first non-UK team to beat England at home. As a player Carey spent most of his career at Manchester United, where he was team captain from 1946 until he retired as a player in 1953.
RB: Gary Neville (England)
Along with his brother Philip, David Beckham, Paul Scoles, Ryan Giggs, and Nicky Butt, Gary Neville captained the Manchester United academy team that won the FA Youth Cup in 1991. They all became fixtures for the senior team throughout the 1990's. Gary Neville remained the team until 2011 and was the second, longest serving player. For England, he was the most capped rightback in history.
CB: Bill Foulkes (England)
Foulkes played for Manchester United in the Busby Babes teams of the 1950s, and also in the 1960s. His favoured position was centre-half. For Manchester United, he played 688 games which places him at number 4 on the all-time list of appearances. Capped once for England.
CB: Rio Ferdinand (England)
Became the youngest defender to play for the Three Lions at the time in 1997. He played 81 times for England between 1997 and 2011, and was a member of three World Cup squads. At one point, he was the most expensive British footballer and also broke the world's record transfer fees for a defender twice. He won the Champions' League with Manchester United in 2008.
|Ferdinand and Vidic|
He spent 9 seasons as the starting center-back at Manchester United from 2006 and 2014, where he won every major trophy and established himself as one of the best center-backs of his generation. He also played for Inter Milan, Red Star Belgrade and Spartak Moscow. He played 56 times for Serbia, He went to the WC Finals in 2006 and 2010.
CB: Martin Buchan (Scotland)
From 1965 to 1972, he played in Aberdeen, where he won the Scotish FA Cup. He joined Manchester United from Aberdeen in 1972. He became the captain of the team after Bobby Charlton retired. Buchan helped United win the 1977 FA Cup Final against Liverpool, which they won 2–1. This meant that Buchan became the only player to captain both Scottish and English FA Cup-winning sides. He represented Scotland at the 1974 and 1978 WC Finals.
LB: Roger Byrne (England)
Byrne was the captain of the Busby Babes. With Manchester United, he won the league title in 1952, 1956 and 1957. He earned 33 caps with England while playing in every England's fixtures in that period, a record for England. Unfortunately, he died at the age of 28 in the Munich Air Disaster.
LB/RB: Denis Irwin (Ireland)
Alex Ferguson considered him his greatest ever signing. He played over 200 games for Manchester United, winning the Champions' League in 1999 and 7 Premiership titles. Irwin was capped by the Republic of Ireland national side 56 times, scoring four goals and featuring in the side that reached the second round (last 16) at the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
CM: Duncan Edwards (England)
Edwards was one of the Busby Babes of Manchester United. He made his professional debut at the age of 16. He was the youngest player to play in the Football League First Division. He died in 1958 during the Munich Air Disaster at the age of 21. Many people considered him to be England's greatest player. He was capped 18 times between 1955 and 1957, scoring 5 goals.
|Duncan Edwards who died young|
Keane was the captain of Manchester United from 1997 to 2005, where he won one Champions' League, 7 Preimer League titles and 4 FA Cups. He was the PWA Player of the Year in 2000. He had 67 caps. He played for Ireland at the 1994 World Cup Finals in the USA, but was sent home 4 years later before the start of the World Cup Finals in 2002. He later played for Celtic in Scotland after leaving Manchester United.
CM: Bryan Robson (England)
Robson was at one point the most expensive British player. He is considered to be one of England's best ever box-to-box midfielders. He earned 90 caps for England. He went to three World Cup Finals, but he only played a major role in 1982. He was injured in both 1986 and 1990. He spent 13 years with Manchester United.
Beckham is the greatest ever icon to play the game. He started his career with Manchester United where he was a part of the famous team that won the 1992 FA Youth Cup. For the senior side, he won 6 Premiership titles and the 1999 Champions' League. In 2003, he joined Real Madrid for the well-publicized "Galacticos" signing. In 2007, he moved to LA Galaxy, where he kickstarted a soccer fever in the United States. For England, he earned 115 caps and was a key part of the national team throughout his career.
He was a legendary player for both Manchester City and Manchester United. He was probably the greatest right winger in Manchester United's history, where he played between 1906 and 1921. He was the oldest ever Manchester United player ever played. He gained 48 caps for Wales, for whom he scored 11 goals and won two British Home Championship titles.
LW: Ryan Giggs (Wales)
Giggs was Sir Alex's longest serving player at Manchester United, where he played from 1990 to 2014. He also holds the club record for competitive appearances. During his time at United, he won 13 Premier League winner's medals, four FA Cup winner's medals, three League Cup winner's medals and two Champions League winner's medals. He is widely considered one of the greatest British wingers in modern history. He played 64 times for Wales. He led Great Britain at the London Olypmpics in 2012.George Best was considered to be one of the greatest players ever played the game. He was voted #19 as the greatest European player by the UEFA Jublilee Poll. He was known for his "pop star" lifestyle. He was one of the "United's Trinity" that helped Manchester United to their first (and also first ever for an English club) European Cup in 1968. He won the PWA PLayer of the Year award and the Ballon d'Or that year.
LW/RW: George Best (N.Ireland)
Scholas was a member of Manchester United's Class of 1992. He spent 20 years with Manchester United's first team. He won 11 Premier League, three FA Cup and two UEFA Champions League winners medals. He earned 66 caps for England before he retired from the Three Lions in 2004. His cap total was limited because of playing the same generation with Frank Lampard and Steve Gerrard.
AM: Sir Bobby Charlton (England)
Sir Bobby was considered one of the greatest midfielders of all-time. He was capped 106 times by England and led England to World Cup victory in 1966. He is also England's all-time leading scorer and all-time cap leader at the time of his retirement. He was selected for four World Cups (1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970). For club career, he almost played his entire career with Manchester United. He was the hero of Manchester United's the first ever European Cup trophy in 1968. He won the Ballon D'Or in 1966.
Law spent 11 years at Manchester United, where he scored 237 goals in 404 appearances. His goals tally places him third in the club's history, behind Bobby Charlton and Wayne Rooney. He partnered George Best and Bobby Charlton at Manchester United, which was considered to be most popular forward line in British history. He was capped 55 times. He managed to play in the 1974 WC Finals.
FW/LW: Cristano Ronaldo (Portugal)
He is one of the greatest forward of his generation. He is the most expensive players in history from 2009-2013 when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid. At the time of writing, he won the Ballon d'Or winner five times and won Champions' League titles with both Manchester United and Real Madrid. In 2016, he helped Portugal to win the European Championship, a month after winning the Champions' League with Real Madrid.
|Ronaldo's goal at the European Cup Final|
Before joining Leeds United in 1992, Cantona was known as the bad boy of French football. He moved to England to restart his career. In England, he became a huge star. He won the league title with Leeds United and moved to Manchester United. At Manchester United, he became one of their best ever players. For the national team, he was a part of the ill-fated national team that failed to qualify for the WC in 1994.
|Eric the Red|
Best remembered for his spells with Manchester United. He won two Premier League title medals, four FA Cups, three League Cups and two European Cup Winners' Cups. He was the first player to win the PFA Players' Player of the Year award twice, in 1989 and 1991.
FW: Wayne Rooney(England)
In 2002, Rooney made his professional debut as a 16 years old with Everton. Less than a year later, he became England's youngest international when he played against Australia. He made his big tournament debut at Euro 2004. he scored 4 goals and named as a member of the tournament's best XI. At the time of writing, he is England's key player for every major tournament since Euro 2004. As for Manchester United, he has won 5 Preimer League titles. In 2008, he formed a partnership with Cristano Ronaldo and won the Champions' League.
|Rooney with Ronaldo|
Tommy Taylor, Nobby Stiles, Paddy Crerand, Tony Dunne, Steve Bruce, Steve Coppell, Jack Rowley, Paul McGrath, Gary Pallister, David Herd, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Norman Whiteside, Jaap Stam, Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Jack Rowley, Dennis Viollet, Patrice Evra, Jaap Stam, Gary Bailey.
-- Patrice Evra was great, but Irwin was Sir Alex's favourite player and Byrne was the captain of the Busby Babes. It is difficult for me to select Evra over them.
-- I have seen list of greatest Manchester United players that omitted Duncan Edwards because his career was cut short. But if Sir Bobby Charlton thinks he was the greatest ever English player,. then, I would respect that. Sir Bobby's opinion is everything, especially on a blog about Manchester United.
-- Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole are on my honourable mention. The pair was among the greatest striking partnership in football. I selected the two of them in pairs.
-- Vidic played 9 seasons. I took him over Stam. I selected two older centerbacks from the pre-Premiership era, Buchan and Foulkes. Paul McGrath's career was very mixed at Manchester United. He would have been the greatest centerback, but he only made my honourable mention here.
-- Cristano Ronaldo actually spent 6 seasons with Manchester United which is not too short. Plus, he won the Champions' League in 2008.
-- Wayne Rooney is the most underrated striker in England's history. His hype as a youngster while playing for Everton might create a false expectation. At times, he carried both Manchester United and the national team, but the media has not always been kind to him. They did not appreciate his contribution. At the same time, he made some critical mistakes while playing for England. I am referring to the red card vs Portugal in 2006 and his reaction to the fans in 2010. That led to a lot of unfair criticisms. He is still the all-time leading scorer for England and Manchester United.
Sir Alex played a lot of 4-4-2 formations(except 2008). The Busby Babes also played with this formation. Edwards or Robson could replace Keane on the lineup. I only put Edwards on the bench because mush of his reputation were unfortunately based upon projection of what it might have been. Robson deserved to be a starter as much as anyone here. Irwin could also start on the left. I could not decide between Foulkes, Buchan, Rio and Vidic. So I put the two, youngest players as the starters. This Manchester United has the depth to replace different players.
This is the formation and lineup I considered to be the best. Ronaldo would be playing at his best position. I prefer Charlton higher up the field. Keane and Edwards could cover Sir Bobby in the middle. Again, I can start Robson over Edward. I rate them almost the same. Irwin can easily make the starting eleven.