The arrival of the new millennium saw a lot of changes take place at Old Trafford. Some of the players from the treble winning season had left, thus there was a need for restructuring of the team. This wasn't an easy task for Manchester United as other English clubs were on the rise and had also taken to investing in fresh talent to help with their title bids. United got lucky with some of their signings as they went on to have successful careers at Old Trafford and helped add to the club's ever expanding trophy cabinet. Some of them went on to break numerous records while simultaneously solidifying their positions as club legends. Unfortunately, where there is good there's also bad and not every signing proved to be a good buy for United.
These are the type of players that the fans would rather forget and the higher-ups responsible for their arrival prefer not to mention. It should be noted that this list is solely based on players who joined Manchester United in or after the year 2000 and how they fared with the team. Here are the 8 best and 7 worst Manchester United players since the new millennium.
15 Best: David de Gea
Having helped Atletico Madrid win both the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup, de Gea was always tipped to be the one to replace the retiring United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. It thus came as no surprise that he joined Manchester United in 2011. He faced some criticism at first due to a couple of mistakes but eventually became more comfortable in his role. Following Sir Alex Ferguson's departure, de Gea ended up being the standout player for Manchester United, during a transition period that has seen the club struggle to qualify for the Champions League. This has led to him being named as United's player of the year for three consecutive seasons. It has also brought about interest from other clubs including Real Madrid who were on the brink of signing him but failed to do so due to the paperwork being submitted after the transfer window had closed.
14 Worst: Gabriel Obertan
13 Best: Patrice Evra
12 Worst: Liam Miller
Liam Miller had a successful final season at Celtic which brought about offers of contract renewal from the club as the manager intended to build a new team around him. He however chose not to renew his contract and instead joined Manchester United on a free transfer in 2004, a move which reportedly angered the Celtic supporters. He mostly found himself playing in cup competitions at United and was loaned out to Leeds in his second season. After two years with United, he left for Sunderland having played only nine league games for the former. At Sunderland, he was transfer listed by former United teammate and then Sunderland manager Roy Keane, due to poor timekeeping, for he frequently arrived late to training sessions.
11 Best: Edwin van der Sar
After six years of trial and error, Manchester United finally found a worthy successor to Peter Schmeichel when they signed Edwin van der Sar from Fulham in 2005. Having previously played for Ajax and Juventus, Van der Sar didn't have a problem adjusting to life at Old Trafford. He ended up becoming the first goalkeeper to keep 50 clean sheets in the UEFA Champions League and also set the clean sheet record in the 2008-09 season by not conceding a single goal for 1311 minutes. Van der Sar won 11 trophies with United, including four Premier League and one Champions League titles, which makes him the second most decorated goalkeeper of all time.
10 Worst: Kleberson
9 Best: Nemanja Vidic
8 Worst: David Bellion
7 Best: Rio Ferdinand
6 Worst: Eric Djemba-Djemba
Well known in France due to his impressive performances while playing for Nantes, the Cameroonian midfielder was signed by Manchester United in 2003. Alex Ferguson had been searching for a replacement for United Captain Roy Keane, who was 31 at the time and had thought of Djemba-Djemba as a possible successor. However, the midfielder found it difficult to maintain his form, proving he wasn't up to the task. 18 months after his arrival, he was sold to Aston Villa having made 20 league appearances for Manchester United.
5 Best: Ruud van Nistelrooy
Ruud van Nistelrooy joined Manchester United from PSV in 2001.He quickly adapted to his new team and by the end of his first season, he had scored 23 goals in 32 Premier League matches. He maintained his form in the following seasons anc managed to reach the 30 goal mark in each of his first three seasons at United. Rather unfortunately, his arrival at Old Trafford came during the era of Arsenal's Invincibles, while Jose Mourinho's arrival led to Chelsea also becoming a title contender. Thus he only won four titles during his five seasons at United including one Premier League and one FA Cup titles.
4 Worst: Dong Fangzhuo
3 Best: Wayne Rooney
2 Worst: Bebe
1 1. Best: Cristiano Ronaldo
In 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo joined Manchester United, becoming their first ever Portuguese player and at the time, the most expensive teenager in English football history. He faced a lot of criticism in the beginning due to his showboating style of play but eventually learnt how to do things the right way. His good performance led to him winning the 2008 Ballon d'Or, following a successful season in which he scored 42 goals in all competitions for United. He won nine trophies while he was with United, including three Premier League and one Champions League titles.
In 2009, he left United to join Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee of £80 million. The best was yet to come from Ronaldo who went on to win the Ballon d'Or thrice following his move to Spain, while setting numerous records in the process. Despite his departure, his six seasons at Old Trafford were enough to make him a club legend.
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