Let’s take a look at the five best Manchester United players since 2000.
#5 Rio Ferdinand
Manchester City v Manchester United – Premier League
Physically dominant and technically proficient, Rio Ferdinand was the very definition of a Rolls Royce defender. He could be parked in the centre of the park in a heated derby and he’d come out of it unscathed and grinning from ear to ear.
Ferdinand joined Manchester United from arch-rivals Leeds United in 2002. In his prime, he was swift and attackers regularly found it difficult to outpace the Englishman. He was strong in the air and calm with the ball at his feet.
Ferdinand won a total of 14 trophies at Manchester United before eventually leaving the club in 2014 for one final season with Queens Park Rangers. He is undoubtedly a Premier League legend.
#4 Ryan Giggs
Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United – Premier League
Ryan Giggs was one of the most remarkable graduates of the famed Class of ’92 and he brought unparalleled longevity, skill and loyalty to Old Trafford. In an illustrious career that spanned over two decades, he consistently stole the show for United with his incredible blend of pace, dribbling and game intelligence.
Giggs played a vital role in Manchester United’s dominance in the Premier League, contributing generously to the cause, winning trophies and creating unforgettable moments. The dynamic Welshman burst onto the scene as a winger and found plenty of success down either flank.
In the latter stages of his career, he seamlessly transitioned into a central midfielder and helped his side assert themselves in the centre of the park. Giggs’s commitment to the club, highlighted by his decision to spend his entire professional career at Manchester United, solidified his legendary status.
Giggs won 13 Premier League titles, two Champions League titles, four FA Cups, four League Cups, one Club World Cup and one UEFA Super Cup with Manchester United.
#3 Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United v Chelsea – UEFA Champions League Final
Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at Manchester United in 2003 as a teenager with incredible potential. Sir Alex Ferguson had certainly unearthed a diamond in the rough and over the course of his six-year stint at the club, Ronaldo burgeoned into a phenomenal footballer.
It took a while before all the showboating and flair would translate to tangibles but once they did, Ronaldo took the reins and ran riot. His exceptional performances in the 2007-08 season saw him win his first Ballon d’Or. Ronaldo scored 42 goals across all competitions for United that campaign.
He won a total of nine trophies with the Red Devils, including three Premier League and one Champions League title.
#2 Paul Scholes
Manchester United v Bolton Wanderers – Premier League
Paul Scholes is undeniably one of the greatest Manchester United players since 2000. A maestro in midfield, Scholes possessed an extraordinary footballing intellect, impeccable passing accuracy and a lethal ability to score from long range.
His influence on the team’s style of play, orchestrating the play from midfield with precision, was integral to United’s success in domestic and European competitions.
Despite his diminutive stature, Scholes was a giant in terms of impact, contributing significantly to numerous Premier League titles and the 2008 UEFA Champions League triumph. His dedication, technical brilliance, and loyalty to the club make him a standout figure in Manchester United’s post-2000 era.
#1 Wayne Rooney
Manchester United v Arsenal – FA Cup Quarter-Final
Wayne Rooney was already a star at the age of 18 when he arrived at Manchester United. The belligerent teenager needed guidance to channel his unbridled aggression into his football and in Fergie, he found the perfect foil.
The signs of greatness were present from the start, with Rooney scoring a hat-trick on his debut in a 6-2 pummeling of Fenerbahce in the UEFA Champions League. Rooney’s versatility and adaptability, seamlessly transitioning between various attacking roles was a testament to his footballing intelligence and skill.
He was integral in securing multiple Premier League titles and the 2007-08 Champions League title. Rooney always played for the badge and his leadership qualities and goalscoring prowess earned him his status as a legendary figure in Manchester United’s history.