With Sir Alex Ferguson calling an end to his trophy-laden 27 year reign at Manchester United to an end, tributes have poured in from the football world regarding his managerial prowess. Debates have been sparked about the Glaswegians best-ever Man United XI. From Eric Cantona to Cristiano Ronaldo, Sir Alex has had some quality players at his disposal during his reign; Here is a look at the best of the lot.
GK: Peter Schmeichel: The only one that comes close to the Great Dane for the goalkeeping nod is Edwin Van der Sar. Instrumental in Manchester United's treble winning season of 1998/99. Schmeichel gets the nod.
RB: Gary Neville: The man Liverpudlians love to hate. Bleeds Manchester United. 602 appearances in a career spanning over 19 years. The loyal and passionate Neville gets the right back slot.
CB: Jaap Stam: Ferguson didn’t make many mistakes in his illustrious managerial career. But he admits letting go of Jaap Stam to Lazio is one of them. At United for 3 seasons, the solid Dutchman won the Premier League title in every one.
CB: Steve Bruce: Rio Ferdinand, Gary Pallister and Nemanja Vidic are notable candidates; but in Steve Bruce Sir Alex had a world class defender, and a match winner on his days. In 2006 then United captain Gary Neville described Bruces partnership with Gary Pallister in the heart of United's defence in the early 90s as the best in the clubs history.
LB: Dennis Irwin: Great attacking sense and solid in the tackle the Irishman was a fans favorite at Old Trafford, plying his trade for United for 12 years, 1990-2002.
RW: Cristiano Ronaldo: Few would’ve predicted the impact Ronaldo was to have at Manchester United when Ferguson brought him in for £12.24million from Sporting Lisbon. Widely regarded as the best player in the world, Ronaldo set English football alight in the latter noughties with his fantastic goalscoring prowess and abilities Ronaldo left United in 2009 for a world record fee of £80,000,000. Key to United winning their third Champions League in 2008.
CM: Roy Keane: A true leader of men, he patrolled the United midfield and captained the Red Devils from 1997 to 2005. His performance against in Turin against Juventus in the 1999 Champions League semi-final is widely regarded as one of the best individual performances of modern football.
CM: Paul Scholes: Dutchman Edgar Davids and Barcelona’s midfield maestro Xavi are among the long list of admirers of Paul Scholes. His importance to was highlighted when Alex Ferguson called him out of retirement in 2012. Salford-born Scholes has played at United all his life.
LW: Ryan Giggs: The most decorated footballer in English football history, Giggs has been terrifying Premier League defences for 22 years. Still evergreen the Welsh wizard is a shoe-in for the left midfield slot. On 31 January 2011, Giggs was named Manchester United's greatest ever player by a worldwide poll conducted by United's official magazine and website.
CF: Eric Cantona: Never far from controversy, the flamboyant Frenchman was key to Uniteds meteoric rise to success in the 90s. Scoring fantastic goals, the Frenchmans natural ability was second to none, still adored and regarding as a hero by the United faithful, despite that infamous night at Crystal Palace.
CF: Ruud Van Nistelrooy: Notable mentions are Wayne Rooney and Andy Cole, but the prolific Dutchman Ruud Van Nistelrooy gets the nod. Prolific and Europe and domestically ‘’Ruud’’ scored 150 goals in his 5 years at Manchester, finishing Champions League top scorer in 2002, 2003 and 2005.