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Manchester United's Best Strikers Of All Time

Yusuf Haq

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Manchester United's Best Strikers Of All Time

No other position can connect with a fanbase the way a striker can, and Old Trafford has seen some truly great strikers.

The roar of a crowd after a goal is like no other moment in a football game, and centre forwards are goalscorers. Manchester United’s catalogue of great strikers is matched by very few in the sport, and whittling it down to a top five is a herculean task.

But we have attempted to do so, and here we present to you UtdDistrict's top five greatest strikers to ever play for Manchester United.

#5: Andy Cole

Andy Cole was a straight gunman. Being signed for what was at the time a club record 6.25 million pound transfer, Cole took a little time to get going at Old Trafford. But once he started, he was unstoppable. His predatory instincts were elite and he scored 121 goals in 275 appearances for United, including a Premier League record five goals in a 9-0 win over Ipswich.

Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

His partnership with Dwight Yorke was one of the greatest strike partnerships football has ever seen, with the pair - alongside super subs Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær - spearheading the Red Devils to the greatest achievement in English football history in the 1998/99 season. 

#4: Ruud van Nistelrooy

When Sir Alex Ferguson takes a £19 million gamble on you right after a serious ACL injury, you’re clearly good. Just how good he was, United fans would go on to see. Whilst Van Nistelrooy only picked up three major trophies in his five years at the club, he was perhaps unlucky in this sense because putting the ball in the back of the net was not a problem for him. 

Whilst often criticised for not doing enough outside of scoring, his scoring record was sublime

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Ruud bagged 150 goals in just 219 games for the club, including 95 in 150 league games. He also became the club’s leading European goalscorer at the time, being the Champions League’s top goalscorer in three of his five seasons at the club. He won one golden boot in 2002-03 alongside Premier League Player of the Season, the season after he was voted PFA Players’ Player of the Year. Not bad for a player that was ‘just a goalscorer’.

#3: Eric Cantona

Being nearly a polar opposite of the previous inclusion on this list, Cantona didn’t hit 20 Premier League goals once. He was far from a slouch in front of goal, but bar one injury-ridden season Van Nistelrooy scored 20 league goals or more in every season he played at Old Trafford. But Cantona did everything, and would make it look like art in the process.

Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Maybe United’s most impactful signing ever, Cantona’s transfer from bitter rivals Leeds - winners of the league the year before it became the Premier League - saw United become a true powerhouse under Sir Alex Ferguson. Cantona won the league four times in the five years he spent at Old Trafford, being United’s star man in the process. 

He turned the tide in a way no other player ever has at Old Trafford, it says a lot that despite coming from Leeds, only spending five years here, and retiring aged 30, he is considered by some to be the club’s greatest ever player. He comes in at third on this list, but could easily have been first.

#2: Denis Law

Denis Law doesn’t have a statue outside Old Trafford for no reason, and that would probably be enough reason to have him as high as he is. Law actually scored the goal that led to the only relegation in Manchester United’s history when he played for derby rivals Manchester City, which makes this even more impressive that he is still adored by so many for his heroics in a red shirt.

The Lawman is one of the truly greatest players Old Trafford has ever seen, making up one third of United’s fabled ‘Holy Trinity’. He holds a club record 46 goals from the 1934-64 season and is the only Scottish footballer to have ever won the Ballon D’or, doing so in a season where his 28 league goals led United to their first title win since the Munich Air Disaster.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Law is the third top scorer in Manchester United’s history, scoring 237 goals in 404 appearances for the club across 11 years of service in which he helped the club rise from the ashes of its greatest tragedy and alongside George Best and Sir Bobby Charlton led them to one of their greatest glories.

#1: Wayne Rooney

United have had some truly great strikers over the years, and many have been unlucky to miss out on this list. But before writing this article, I thought about it, and decided only one man could take the top spot on this list.

The club’s all-time record goalscorer with 253 goals across 559 appearances in which he played all across the attack, in attacking midfield and even sometimes in a deeper midfield role. The man who scored a hattrick at Old Trafford in the Champions League on his debut aged just 18, right after a big money move. The man who helped to elevate one of their very greatest teams to unparalleled heights, and then dragged some of their less-prosperous teams to success and captained them. The man who scored maybe the greatest goal Old Trafford has ever seen, in the Manchester Derby no less. The only man in Premier League history with over 200 goals AND 100 assists. Wayne Mark Rooney.

Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Rooney is not only the club’s greatest ever striker, he is arguably the club’s greatest ever player. A true one of a kind footballer, who if not for the dominance of Ronaldo and Messi would likely have won the Ballon D’or at least one, Wazza takes top spot on this list.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Manchester United, England, Wayne Rooney, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Premier League, Football, Eric Cantona

Yusuf Haq
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