Thursday, July 4, 2019

Manchester United All-Time Team for Foreign Players

Carlos Tevez and Ronaldo
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Manchester United All-Time Team
Manchester United Greatest All-Time Team under Sir Alex. 
Manchester United Greatest All-Time Team under Sir Busby
Manchester United All-Time team for British isles (excluding England)

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for Manchester United's foreign players.  I have done a blog team for Manchester United All-Time Team for English PlayersThe 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 ScotlandNorthern 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.
Eric Cantona and Andrey Kanchelskis 
The Team
GK: Peter Schmeichel (Denmark)
Peter Schmeichel 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.  He is also the most capped player for  Denmark, with 129 games between 1987 and 2001, winning the Euro 92.  

GK: Edwin Van Der Sar (Netherlands)
Van Der Sar is the most capped player in Dutch 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: David De Gea (Spain)
De Gea began his career with Atlético Madrid.  He helped the team win both the Europa League and the Super Cup in 2010.  He joined Manchester United in June 2011 for £18.9 million, a British record for a goalkeeper at the time. At the time of writing, he only had 30 caps.  He was Iker Casillas' backup in the 2014 World Cup Finals. He was the starter at Euro 2016 and 2018 World Cup Finals.
Juan Mata and David de Gea along with Ole Gunnar Solskjær 
RW/RB: Antonio Valencia (Ecuador)
Antonio Valencia  is probably the most successful Ecuadorean player ever played in Europe.  He first made his name with El Nacional at home before moving to Europe. He first played in Spain and then, found success with Wigan in England.  In 2009, he secured a big move to Manchester United and voted into the PFA team of the year for the season 2009-2010. 
Antonio Valencia 
CB: Mikael Silvestre (France)
Silvestre began his career at Rennes in 1996, before moving to Inter Milan in 1998. He joined Manchester United in 1999, where he won five Premier League titles and the Champions League in in 2008. He also played for Arsenal, Werder Bremen, Portland Timbers and Chennaiyin. He played 40 times for France.  He went to the 2006 World Cup Finals.

CB: Ronny Johnsen (Norway)
In 1996, Ronny Johnsen became the most expensive Norwegian defender when he signed for Manchester United.  He also played for Sem, Stokke, Eik-Tønsberg, Lyn, Lillestrøm, Beşiktaş, Manchester United, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Vålerenga. With the Red Devils, he won the 1999 Champions' League. He was capped 62 times for Norway. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1998.

CB:  Laurent Blanc (France)
Laurent Blanc was nicknamed  "Le Président" for leadership skills.  He had over 90 caps. He was a key member of the French team that won the 1998 World Cup  at home and the 2000 European Championship in Belgium and Holland.  The team was known for its defence as well as its offence. For his club career, he played for Montpellier, Napoli, Barcelona, Marseille, Internazionale and Manchester United.

CB:  Jaap Stam (Netherlands)
Jaap Stam became the most expensive Dutch player and the most expensive defender in the world when Manchester United bought him for 10.6 million pounds.  He also played for PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Lazio, AC Milan and Ajax. Sam was capped 67 times for Netherlands, scoring three goals. He was in their squads for three European Championships and the 1998 World Cup.
Jaap Stam 
CB: Nemanja Vidic (Serbia)
Nemanja Vidic 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 World Cup Finals in 2006 and 2010.

LB: Patrice Evra (France)
Evra began his career with Nice and then, Monaco. He played for the Red Devils from 2006 to 2014, where he became one of the best left backs in the world.  At the time of writing, he earned 81 caps and was a key player for France since 2008.  He was the captain of the national team.  At South Africa 2010, he led a player revolt against Raymond Domenech.

LB: Gabriel Heinze (Argentina)
Nicknamed Gringo, he made a name for himself at Paris Saint-Germain, moving in 2004 to Manchester United and subsequently to Real Madrid, winning four trophies with the latter two clubs. He started and finished his 18-year professional career with Newell's Old Boys. Heinze played 72 times with Argentina, representing the nation at two World Cups and as many Copa América tournaments.
Gabriel Heinze 
CM: Paul Pogba (France)
Pogba began his senior career with Manchester United, but after only 3 appearance in a season and half, he moved to Juventus.  In Turin, he became a megastar.  He also led Juventus to the Final of the 2015 Champions' League Final.  In the summer of 2016, Manchester United broke the all-time transfer fees to sign Pogba.  At the time of writing, he was capped 43 times.  He led France to reach the Final of Euro 2016 and to win the World Cup in 2018.

CM: Arnold Muhren (Netherlands)
Muhren was one of the few players who had won the European Cup (1972–73), the Cup Winners' Cup (1986–87) and the UEFA Cup (1980–81).  He first made his name by playing for Ajax with his brother Gerrie.  In 1978, he joined Ipswich, where he became one of the first Dutch players in the league.  Capped 23 times.  He was a part of the Euro 1988 winning team.  He crossed the ball to Marco Van Basten where he scored the famous volley goal in the Final against the Soviet Union.
Arnold Muhren 
AM/CM: Ander Herrera (Spain)
Herrera began his career at Real Zaragoza, before moving to Athletic Bilbao in 2011 and then to Manchester United for €36 million in 2014. He won four trophies with the club, including the FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League, and was named as their player of the year for the 2016–17 season.  He was capped twice for Spain.

CM/AM: Juan Mata (Spain)
Juan Mata was a youth academy player for Real Madrid, but he started with Valencia in 2007.  From 2011 to 2014, he played for Chelsea, where he was a major star for the team.  After a fallout with Jose Mourinho, he moved to Manchester United.  Ironically, they would reunite again at Old Trafford. For Spain, he was a part of the team that won the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship two years later.

RW: Andrey Kanchelskis (Russia)
Andrey Kanchelskis  was one of the first players after the collapse of the USSR that succeeded in the West. He is remembered for his spells with English clubs Manchester United and Everton, and in Scotland with Rangers. Despite being an ethnic Lithuanian born in Ukraine, he chose to play for Russia, where he played over 35 times between 1992 and 1998.  He was also capped by USSR and CIS. 

RW/LW/RB: Park Ji-Sung (South Korea)
Park Ji-Sung is the most decorated Asian footballer in history, as the first Asian footballer to have won the Champions League trophy, the first Asian footballer to play in a Champions League Final, as well as the first Asian footballer to have won the Club World Cup.   He spent 7 seasons with Manchester United. He also played Kyoto Purple Sanga, PSV and QPR.  For the national team, he earned 100 caps and went to 4 World Cup Finals: 2002, 2006, and 2010.

LW: Jesper Olsen (Denmark)
Olsen started his senior career for Næstved IF before joining Ajax.  From 1984 to 1988, he played for Manchester United, where he won a FA Cup. He also played for Bordeaux and Caen. Capped 43 times.  He was a member of Danish Dynamite.  However, his mistake in the quarterfinal of the 1986 WC Finals against Spain led to Emilio Butragueño's first goal in the match.

FW/LW: Cristano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Cristano Ronaldo 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. At the time of writing, he joined Juventus.
Cristano Ronaldo
FW: Eric Cantona (France)
Before joining Leeds United in 1992, Eric 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 in 1992.  At Manchester United, he became one of their best ever players. For the national team, he had 45 caps.  He was a part of the ill-fated national team that failed to qualify for the World Cup Finals in 1994. 

ST/SS: Carlos Tevez (Argentina)
Tevez made his name with Boca Juniors by winning the Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup in 2003 before moving to Corinthians. In 2006,  he moved to West Ham United, but Tevez transferred to Manchester United in 2007 and in his two years won several trophies including the Champions League. In 2009 he joined Manchester City. In 2013, he moved to Juventus, helping them to dominate Italian football.  He earned over 70 caps and appeared in two WC Finals.

ST: Dwight Yorke (T&T) 
Best remembered for his stint with Manchester United.  In 1998-199 season,  Manchester United won the triple(the Premier League, the FA Cup and the  Champions' League), where he was both the top scorer in the Preimership  and the Champions' League. Along with Russell Latapy and Pat Jennings, Yorke holds the record number of participations in different World Cup competitions, including qualifying stages – six in total (1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010).
Dwight Yorke 
ST: Ole Gunnar Solskjær (Norway)  
Nicknamed "The Baby-faced Assassin".  He played 12 seasons for Sir Alex at Manchester United.  He is known to be "super sub" on the team.  He often scored important goals coming off the bench.  He was probably best remembered for scoring the winning goal against bayern Munich at the 1999 Champions' league Final. He was capped 67 times for Norway.

ST: Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria)
Dimitar Berbatov is its all-time leading goalscorer for Bulgaria. He has also won the Bulgarian Footballer of the Year a record seven times, surpassing the number of wins by Hristo Stoichkov.  He started with CSKA Sofia, but earned his reputation with Bayer Leverkusen between 2001 and 2006, playing in the Champions league Final in 2002. After two seasons with Tottenham Hotspur, he joined Manchester United.

ST: Ruud Van Nistelrooy (Netherlands)
Ruud Van Nistelrooy was a prolific goal scorer. He won the top scorer award in three different European domestic leagues. He started with PSV Eindhoven.  He spent 5 seasons with Manchester United where he was voted as their best player twice.  With Real Madrid, he finished second as the European Golden Boot. Van Nistelrooy earned 70 caps and scored 35 goals for the Netherlands. He played in 2006 World Cup and two European Championship.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Honorable Mention
Carlo Sartori (Italy), Henning Berg (Norway), Javier Hernandez (Mexico), Juan Sebastian Veron (Argentina), Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden),  Henrik Larsson (Sweden), Nani (Portugal), Marouane Fellaini (Beglium), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Fabien Barthez (France), Robin van Persie (Netherlands).

Squad Explanation
-- Carlo Sartori was the first ever foreign player to have signed for Manchester United, but he was raised in Manchester.
-- Eric Cantona, Cristano Ronaldo, Peter Schmeichel, Edwin Van de Var and Nemanja Vidic are also selected for my all-time Manchester United team.
-- Stam,Vidic and Johnsen were locked onto the three centerback position.  I chose Silvestre over Blanc and Berg because he had a much longer career at Old Traford. Then, I decided to take a 5th centerback.  Basically, I do not have a serious candidate for the 25th player.  Blanc was the best player left.
-- Fabien Barthez might have won a lot of trophies for France, but David De Gea has been the team's best player since Sir Alex's retirement.  
-- Gary Neville locked down the rightback position.  Not many right back got the opportunities to play. Antonio Valencia is one of the few rightback starter.  I considered Rafael da Silva and Matteo as my back rightback.  In the end, I will use Park Ji-Sung as the backup rightback.  Sir Alex used him there before. He was an unsung hero during his time with club.
-- In absence of another good rightback, I selected Rafael da Silva as my backup righback.
-- Arnold Muhren was probably Manchester United's first successful foreign player.  
-- The central midfielders' position is very week.  Juan Mata and Arnold Muhren were the only sure-in player.  Veron who had a reputation for being a bust at Manchester United. Paul Pogba's performance has not justified for his price tag yet, but he had some notable performance. In the absence of other candidates.  I still selected Pogba who record breaking transfer from Juventus is considered not justified.  Then, I gave the last spot to Ander Herrera.  He edged out Veron.
-- Carlos Tevez was the last attacker selected.  The three-pronged attack of Wayne Rooney,  Cristano Ronaldo and him are considered  to be the greatest attack line ever by Sir Alex Ferguson. He edged out Robin Van Persie and Dimitar Berbatov.  In two seasons, Tevez won two Premiership and a Champions' league.
-- In the last spot, I was deciding between Robin Van Persie and Dimitar Berbatov. 

Formation I
This lineup was more of an All-Star team than an actual formation. Cristano Ronaldo should be playing closer to the attack instead of wide left as a traditional winger.  It was also well-known that Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Ronaldo did not get along as teammates.

Formation II
I dropped Van Nistelrooy to utilize Cristano Ronaldo as a wing-forward. 

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