It’s been a love/hate relationship between the Champions League and Manchester United in recent years, with fans begrudgingly having to watch their side slump into the Thursday night slot of the Europa League at times, but the Red Devils are back among Europe’s elite once more this season.
It wasn’t always this up and down for United fans though, and it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t actually that long ago that they were good. Really good.
Here’s a list of United’s 30 top scorers in the Champions League.
The 2008 Golden Boy winner starts us off. Easily the most talented name on the list. Obviously.
The Frenchman finished his playing career with United from 2001 to 2003, but his three goals were never enough to inspire some more European glory following their treble in 1999.
This one’s just a bid sad, because as we now know, Diego Forlan was a bloody brilliant footballer – it just didn’t work out at Man Utd. Hopefully their newest Uruguayan striker enjoys a more successful spell.
Perhaps one of Europe’s most underrated midfielders, Carrick is a genuine club legend at United.
Irwin set the pace for the modern day full back. The Irishman wasn’t afraid to get forward and show off his attacking capabilities, and could be relied upon to put away a penalty when needed.
One incredible game would be followed up by three 2/10 performances which was always the problem with Nani, but on his day he was a joy to watch.
The first entry who’s still playing for United, one would expect Anthony Martial to be a lot higher up this list in a few years time. Or hope, at least.
United broke the British transfer record to bring Veron to the club in 2002, but it didn’t pay off in the slightest and he left just two years later. Four Champions League goals sees him creep into the list, though.
Injuries ravaged what could’ve been a seriously successful career at Old Trafford for Saha. Four Champions League goals doesn’t do him justice.
‘Dat Guy Welbz’ actually looked like a decent striker option for United as a young academy graduate, but that all fell apart when he tried to chip Manuel Neuer in 2014. Respect the effort, not the execution.
Decent strike rate, incredible player in his prime, but it still feels properly weird to think that Michael Owen played for Manchester United. That actually happened.
One of the most technically sound and aesthetically pleasing players in his prime, Berbatov was an incredible forward for United – even if he was infuriating to watch at times.
Five goals in the Champions League doesn’t tell the story of just how important Cantona was for United. Erratic, but supremely talented, and fans wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Before his days as a right back, Valencia signed for United as a tricky right winger and looked a constant threat. A broken ankle suffered in August 2010 felt like the undoing of his talents, limiting his game to an extent.
Hearing the name ‘Tevez’ as a United fan will hurt forever, even more so because of how ridiculously good he was. The Argentine had a stellar two seasons with United, before controversially moving to Manchester City in 2009.
Fighting poverty and sending defenders to the shops while he does so, Marcus Rashford is a credit to United on and off the pitch. Expect this number to shoot up in the future.
‘Chicharito’ will forever be a fan favourite at United. The Mexican was the ultimate super sub and could find a goal from nowhere. Never the number one pick, but always a safe pair of hands.
A career resurgence at Inter has left fans second guessing United’s decision to sell Lukaku, but it was for the best. He didn’t fit the mould under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but was bound to be a world beater in Italy.
The Dutchman carried United to their 20th league title in 2012/13 and also holds a pretty impressive record in Europe for the Red Devils. If only he moved to Old Trafford a few seasons earlier…
Sheringham bagged nine Champions League goals for United during his time with club, one being arguably the most important Champions League goal in the club’s history. He scored the equaliser in the 1999 final between United and Bayern Munich before assisting the winner. Iconic.
One half of one of the Premier League’s deadliest striker partnerships ever, Yorke was also a success at European level. Obviously, because he was absolutely mint.
A right foot doesn’t come better than David Beckham’s. Him now being a club owner and massive celebrity makes it easy to forget that he was once a winger at Manchester United. A very good one, too.
His aggressive style of play probably wouldn’t go far in today’s game, but his other incredible attributes would. United still lack a leader as influential as Keane and will probably never find anyone like him again.
Hurts, doesn’t it?
Watching Cristiano Ronaldo do his thing in the English game was a blessing, more for Manchester United fans and less for opposition defences. One of the greatest.
Yorke’s partner comes in just above him with a few more goals in European competition. Andy Cole was a complete striker and more than just a goal scorer. His vision and reading of the game were incredible.
Late in May in 1999, Ole scored the goal in extra time. Need we say any more?
Contrary to what Twitter might think, Paul Scholes was an incredible footballer. An energetic and accurate midfielder with an eye for goal, and United’s fourth-highest top scorer in Europe.
The Welshman is one of the most decorated footballers of all time and won two Champions Leagues with United as a part of two obscenely talented squads.
United and England’s all time leading goalscorer opened his account for the Red Devils with a hat-trick in the Champions League in 2004 against Fenerbahce. The rest is history.
Ruud the dude. The Dutchman was an absolute goal machine and it’s quite mental to think he left United with as little silverware that he did. The Red Devils’ all-time top scorer in the Champions League, and one of the most clinical strikers ever.