Manchester United are a professional soccer club playing in the Premier League, the highest tier of English soccer. The club, called the Red Devils, were formed in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club. However, they changed their name to Manchester United in 1902, and they moved to the present stadium, Old Trafford in 1910.
With remarkable 20 League titles, 12 FA Cups, five League Cups, and a record 21 FA Group Shields, Manchester United has won more trophies than any other team in English soccer. In addition, they can boast of three UEFA Champions League trophies, one UEFA Europa League, one UEFA Winners' Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, and one FIFA Club World Cup.
Manchester United has plied its trade with numerous young players. For this club, the likes of Bobby Charlton, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, and Paul Scholes have given their best and won lots of collective and individual trophies and accolades.
20. Dimitar Berbatov – 56 goals
On September 1, 2008, Berbatov transferred to Manchester United, costing the club $40 million, after agreeing a four-year contract. An interesting fact is that Tottenham had already rejected a Manchester City offer, so things could have turned out different.
Berbatov scored a total of 56 goals in 149 games for the Old Trafford giant. He wore the No.9 jersey for United until 2012 when he moved to Fulham. The Bulgarian retired in September 2019.
19. Robin van Persie – 58 goals
On August 17, 2012, for an estimated fee of $30 million, Van Persie left Arsenal to switch alliances to Manchester United. He agreed a four-year deal maintaining him at the club until June 2016, picking the No.20 jersey.
Van Persie featured in 105 games for the Red Devils across all competitions, managing 58 total goals. The Dutchman left the Old Trafford for the Turkish side Fenerbahce in summer 2015. He has been retired since May 2019.
18. Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez – 59 goals
In October 2009, Manchester United became first aware of Guadalajara’s striker Hernandez; that December, a scout went to Mexico and the impressions were positive. On April 8, 2010, Chicharito agreed to sign a contract with Manchester United for an undisclosed fee.
Chicharito was given the jersey No.14. With it, he netted a total of 59 goals in 157 games for the Red Devils in all competitions. After spending the 2014-15 season on loan at Real Madrid, he left United for good in summer 2015, when he moved to Bayer Leverkusen. He is currently featuring for LA Galaxy in the MLS.
17. Dwight Yorke – 65 goals
Aston Villa sold Dwight Yorke to Manchester United on August 20, 1998, for a reported fee of $16 million. Yorke was a vital player in his first season, leading his club to a treble of the Premier League title, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League.
The ex-Trinidad and Tobago striker wore the No.19 jersey number. He scored 65 total goals in 152 matches for Manchester United in all competitions. His stay at the Old Trafford lasted four years, as he departed for Blackburn Rovers in summer 2004. Yorke retired in 2009.
16. Anthony Martial – 76 goals
Martial completed a move from Monaco to Manchester United on September 1, 2015. He signed a four-year deal worth $46 million. This was the highest transfer fee charged to a teenager, shattering Luke Shaw's previous record of $35 million United paid a year earlier.
Having started with the No.9, but had to give it up upon the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2016. Three years, the Frenchman reclaimed his old jersey number back. Martial has played 241 games for Man Utd so far, scoring 76 goals in total.
15. Marcus Rashford – 81 goals
Rashford is a well-known Manchester United academy product. He spent 10 years passing through their youth teams, from 2005 to 2015, and was included in the first team in early 2015. Rashford made his Red Devils debut in 2016.
Even though he is still 23 years old, Rashford has worn three jersey numbers for United so far: No. 39, No.19, and the most recent one, No.10. Up to this day, the English forward has featured in 240 games for Man Utd, marking 81 goals in total.
14. Eric Cantona – 81 goal
On November 26, 1992, Cantona left Leeds for Manchester United for a sum of $1.5 million. The announcement of the imminent transfer of Cantona to a fierce rival was greeted with bitterness by the Leeds fans.
The Frenchman went on to feature in 179 games in all competitions for United and scored 81 goals. They were his last club in his career, as he retired in 1997, after spending 5 years in Manchester full of different individual and club accolades.
13. David Beckham – 85 goals
David Beckham spent two years at the United youth academy, before breaking through to the first team in 1992. He made his first-team debut in September 1992 but signed a professional contract with the club on January 23, 1993.
The former midfielder stayed more than a decade in Manchester, as he left for Real Madrid in 2003. Beckham netted 85 goals in 387 total matches for Man U. He retired in 2013 after spending the season at Paris Saint-Germain. At the moment, the 45-year-old is the owner of Inter Miami.
12. David Herd – 88 goals
David Herd featured for Stockport County and Arsenal, before joining Manchester United in 1961. In 1965 and 1967, he helped the club win the English League Championship.
The Scotsman made 156 total appearances wearing the Red jersey, and he scored 88 goals across all competitions. Herd went on to play for Stoke City in 1968, before ending his career with Waterford in 1971. He died on October 1, 2016.
11. Mark Hughes – 92 goals
Hughes is another former United academy player, who was introduced into the first team in 1980. For three years, though, he did not make his first-team debut. After debuting in 1983, he went on to stay another three years, before leaving for Barcelona in 1986.
In 1988, the Welshman returned at the Old Trafford for a second spell, which lasted longer than the first one, until 1995. In total, he scored 92 goals for Manchester United in 256 games in his two spells at the Old Trafford.
10. Sir Bobby Charlton – 101 goals
Sir Bobby Charlton is also one of the most successful United’s academies products, spending three years in their youth ranks. He entered the first team in 1956 and made his debut later in October.
Robert Charlton made history with the club and continued to do so for 17 years, until 1973 when he joined Preston North End. He scored 101 goals for United on 354 occasions. The ex-attacking midfielder retired in 1980 with Blacktown City.
9. George Best – 116 goals
Best spent two seasons in the Manchester United academy before being launched into the first team in 1963. In September 1963, he made his first-team debut, marking the beginning of what turned out to be an 11-year stay in Manchester.
He left a grand mark at United, having scored 116 times in 303 total appearances. The Northern Ireland international had a very colorful career after departing from the Red Devils in 1974, as he played for 16 different clubs in a decade, before hanging his boots in 1984. George Best died on November 25, 2005.
8. Cristiano Ronaldo – 118 goals
When he had left Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2003, Ronaldo became the first Portuguese player to ever play for Manchester United. His transfer fee of $6 million made him the all-time most expensive teenager in English soccer.
Wearing the famous No.7 jersey, he took on the world with United, marking 118 goals in 292 games in the Red jersey. He stayed for six years at the Old Trafford, leaving for Real Madrid in 2009. The 35-year-old forward is currently featuring for Juventus in Serie A.
7. Andy Cole – 121 goals
In a shock deal for Newcastle, Andrew Cole saw himself moving to Manchester United on January 10, 1995, for a price of $9 million, setting a new record for the most lucrative British move. Cole managed to score 12 goals in just 18 Premier League matches for United, even though he joined halfway through the 1994-95 season.
He spent six years wearing the Man Utd jersey, as he left in 2001 for Blackburn Rovers. While at Manchester, he netted 121 goals in a total of 274 games. In 2008, he opted to retire, playing last for Nottingham Forest.
6. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – 127 goals
Solskjær joined Manchester United on July 29, 1996, in a shocking move, for he was almost unknown outside his home country. The Norwegian was expected to be an alternative to Eric Cantona and Andy Cole, but he imminently proved to be a vital asset to Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad.
Solskjaer spent 11 years at United, marking 127 goals in 365 games in all competitions. They were, in fact, his final club of the career, as he said ‘farewell’ to professional football in 2007. Ole is the current head coach at Manchester United, after being assigned in 2018.
5. Ruud van Nistelrooy – 150 goals
Interestingly, Ruud van Nistelrooy was supposed to become a Man Utd player in early 2000. However, his move from PSV Eindhoven was scuppered after he suffered a rupture to his anterior cruciate knee ligaments. One year later, he did make his dream move to the Old Trafford.
The Dutchman went on to become of the world’s most prolific striker, scoring 150 times in 219 matches for the Red Devils during his five-year spell. He switched to Real Madrid in 2006 and hung up his boots in 2012. He is now the PSV Eindhoven Under-19 coach and the assistant manager for the Netherlands.
4. Paul Scholes – 152 goals
Paul Scholes is one of the rare one-club players in the world who spent their entire careers playing for only one club. The former midfielder spent two seasons in United’s academy before being called into the senior squad in 1993. He debuted for the first team the next season.
Scholes hung up his boots in 2011, after spending 18 years at Man Utd. However, due to an injury crisis the following season, he opted to come back to help his team. During his two spells, the Englishman made 709 total appearances at Manchester, celebrating 152 goals. The 45-year-old is the current caretaker of Salford City.
3. Denis Law – 160 goals
One season after leaving Manchester City, Denis Law returned to the city in 1962, this time with Manchester United. A fun fact is that, with a total of 46 successful targets in one season, he holds the record of the most goals in a competitive season.
In 254 games across all competitions from 1962 to 1973, the former Scottland striker scored 160 goals overall. He then returned for another spell at City prior to retiring in 1974.
2. Ryan Giggs – 161 goals
Giggs played for both Manchester clubs’ academies, but the ones who gave him the first-team call-up were Manchester United. Just like Paul Scholes, he spent his entire professional career on the red side of the city.
The Welshman featured in unreachable 928 games for United, scoring a total of 161 goals down the road. He retired in 2014, after spending 24 years with the English giants. The 46-year-old is the current head coach of Wales.
1. Wayne Rooney – 235 goals
Everton were forced to sell Rooney in summer 2004, once the player sent a transfer request. Eventually, a $33 million deal was agreed with Manchester United, as it was the largest fee ever paid to a player under 20 years of age, and Rooney was just 18 at the time.
The then-youngster started with the No.8 jersey but later switched to No.10. In the period of 13 years, the forward made 559 appearances in all competitions for the Reds, and he netted on 253 occasions. At 35 years of age, Rooney is playing for Derby County currently.