As Fergie hails his best-ever Man United squad - how do his Quintuple chasers compare to the heroes

04 March 2009 03:34
Sir Alex Ferguson has tried to play down suggestions that Manchester United

could win an unprecedented Quintuple this season - but the Scot admits that the current squad is better than his 1999 Treble winners.

Another cuppa? Ferguson enjoys lifting the Carling Cup at Wembley

A decade ago, United picked up the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League - three trophies that they hope to again add to the Club World Cup and Carling Cup that they have already claimed this season.

Can they do it? Is this United side better than the boys who dismissed Bayern Munich at the Nou Camp?

They are certainly more numerous, Ferguson believes. 'This is the best squad I have had,' said the United boss. 'It was a smaller squad in 1999 - we only had 19 players available for the Champions League final.'

Sportsmail has analysed the best starting XIs from the 1998-99 season and the present day, offering each player a mark out of 10 for their contribution.

As always, let us know which side you think is the best by posting your comments at the end of the story.

1999Peter SchmeichelThe Dane's eight years at Manchester United brought five league titles and he skippered the Red Devils to their Champions League triumph. Schmeichel was one hell of a goalkeeper. 9/10

Gary NevilleA life-long Red, Neville may not be everyone's favourite player but his commitment can never be doubted. 8/10

Rock solid: Jaap Stam

Jaap StamThe Dutch defender spent three seasons at Old Trafford and won three Premier League titles. 8/10

Ronny JohnsenHis career was plagued by injuries but the versatile defender, who also played in midfield for United, was called upon by Ferguson for all United's big game. 7/10

Denis IrwinUnited's most decorated player, with 13 medals to his name, the Irishman belied his 34 years in the 1999 Champions League final. 8/10

David BeckhamBeckham responded to his critics after being sent off for England against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup with a wonderful season in a United shirt. 8/10

Paul ScholesSuspended for the Champions League final but an integral part of Ferguson's treble-winning side, Scholes is another one-club man who has won everything in the game with United. 9/10

Roy KeaneIf Ferguson calls you the best he's ever worked with, you must be good. Although suspended for the Nou Camp final, Keane won seven league titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League with United. 9/10

Ryan GiggsThe Welsh wizard was 25 years old in May 1999 and had the speed to match his skill and intelligence on the football field. 9/10

Heroes: Peter Schmeicel and Dwight Yorke

Andy ColeCole and Yorke were an unstoppable partnership in 1999, scoring 35 league goals between them. Cole took a while to settle at Old Trafford but remains the second highest scorer in Premier League history behind Alan Shearer. 8/10

Dwight YorkeThe other half of a potent strike partnership, Yorke outdid Cole by just one goal, finishing the 1998-99 season as United's top league goal-scorer (18 goals). 8/10Subs:

Teddy SheringhamSheringham's starting appearances were limited after Yorke's arrival at Old Trafford, but the 33-year-old still scored goals when it mattered. 7/10

Ole Gunnar SolskjaerSuper sub Solskjaer, the 'Baby-Faced Assassin', scored 12 league goals for United in 1998-99 and scored the goal that gave Sir Alex Ferguson his first Champions League title. 8/10

Partners in crime: Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand

2009

Edwin van der SarThe Dutch goalkeeper has gone 14 league game without conceding a goal but is he better than Schmeichel? No - Van der Sar has a more impressive defensive pairing to protect him.  8/10

Gary NevilleThe right-back faces stiff competition from Wes Brown and youngster Rafael da Silva but the fully fit club captain, who has made 565 appearances for United, would still be Ferguson's first choice. 8/10

Timeless: Ryan Giggs

Rio FerdinandThe England defender forms one half of the country's best defensive pairing alongside Vidic and has been fantastic this season. 9/10

Nemanja VidicMany of you voted him as your Player of the Season so far in our online poll and why not - the Serbian has continued his outstanding form from 2007-8 this season. He's also scored six goals for United. 9/10

Patrice EvraThe 'best left-back in the country' according to Sportsmail's Martin Samuel, making it difficult to choose between Irwin's and the physicality of Evra. The Frenchman edges it, just. 9/10

Darren FletcherYou complained when our Chief Sports Writer Martin Samuel said Fletcher was a better player than Liverpool's Javier Mascherano or Xabi Alonso, but 200 United appearances tell their own story. Is he better than Roy Keane or Scholes in their prime? Of course not, but he's still a player for the big occasion. 7/10

Ryan GiggsThe only player to score in every Premier League season, Giggs's longevity is a testimony to his professionalism and dedication to the game. 8/10

Michael CarrickHe's not a midfield goal-scorer in the mould of Giggs or Scholes, but Carrick has become an integral part of Ferguson's plans at Old Trafford. 7/10

Cristiano RonaldoWhat can you say about Ronaldo? He might not be reaching the heights of last season's utter dominance but he remains one of the Premier League's star men. 9/10

Flying high: Cristiano Ronaldo is United's current star

Wayne Rooney'The best young player I have seen in my time' said Ferguson. That's some praise when you consider those who have gone before him. 9/10

Dimitar BerbatovHe hasn't quite lived up to expectations since moving to Old Trafford at the start of the season, but the Bulgaria international remains a classy player and has 12 United goals to his name so far. 7/10Subs:

Carlos TevezA lethal finisher, but will United sign him on a long-term deal when they have the likes of Rooney, Berbatov and Ronaldo in their ranks? 7/10

Paul ScholesNow 34, Scholes is still putting in impressive performances in a Manchester United shirt, having retired from international duty to concentrate on club commitments. Fabio Capello would still look twice if Scholes made himself available again. 8/10

VERDICT1999: 106/130

2009: 105/130

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Source: Daily_Mail