It’s tough to show any compassion towards Manchester United fans regarding their current plight. Their team may not quite be the powerhouse it once was, but there’s no doubting they’ve been treated to some stellar talents over the years.
From academy wonderkids to mega-money signings, the Old Trafford stage has been graced by some geniuses of the game, helping them to 13 league titles and two Champions League triumphs in the Premier League era alone.
Imagine throwing all of those incredible talents into a generator, taking the best bits from each of them and creating the perfect Manchester United player…
Here at 90min, we’ve had our Frankenstein moment and done just that – here’s our complete Manchester United Premier League footballer (and no Cristiano, we’ve not picked you for every part).
Brain: Wayne Rooney
While Rooney did have pace and strength, he will never be remembered for excelling physically.
The reason Rooney got to the top of the game at both club level and internationally, was his footballing intelligence.
United’s record goalscorer had a gift. His movement and nous would often see him bamboozle defenders, and it’s no surprise that he seamlessly dropped into a number ten role and then into central midfield as his career entered its twilight years.
It’s not easy adapting to a different position when you’ve played in the same position your whole career – but Rooney managed it and still looked the best player on the pitch at times. Testament to the footballing brain of one of United’s greatest ever players.
Eyes (Vision): Paul Scholes
One of the finest passers of a football you are ever likely to see - but there’s no use having the ability to make a pass if you can’t see it in the first place, and Scholes certainly could.
The midfield maestro became synonymous with two-touch football; one to control the ball, then pick your head up, spot the pass and put the ball on a sixpence for its recipient.
And it wasn’t just ranging 50-yard passes the former England international was renowned for; his play in and around the box was just as deadly. His ability to spot a pass and unlock a defence was unrivalled.
During their heyday, United would often face opposition who would set up at Old Trafford with two banks of four and sit back. Because of this, creativity was imperative in a team that wanted to win silverware, and Scholes was at the heart of that team.
Lungs (Workhorse - Cardio): Park Ji-sung
Often Park Ji-sung’s work ethic overshadows his ability as a player and he is unjustly brandished a slogger - but there’s no denying the lungs on the man.
Often the preferred midfield choice of Sir Alex Ferguson for crucial away games against the big teams because of his tireless running, Park spent seven years at Old Trafford. And don’t be fooled into thinking he was a bit-part player, the South Korean made over 200 appearances for the Red Devils including a Champions League final.
Body (Strength): Jaap Stam
Name a United player who would win in a 50/50 with this man?
An absolute rock of a central defender; Stam is widely considered as one of Fergie’s biggest mistakes in terms of letting him leave the club.
Stam spent just three years at United, winning the Premier League in every single season, as well as the Champions League and the FA Cup in 1999.
Left Foot: Ryan Giggs
When it comes to left footed United players there’s only ever going to be one winner.
Giggs terrorised Premier League right-backs for years, scoring in every single one of the first 21 Premier League seasons before his retirement in 2014.
His wand of a left foot became a staple of United’s play, whether it be from dead-ball situations or at the end of one of his signature mazy runs. The Welshman proved time and time again that he had the end product lacking in so many tricky wingers.
Right Foot: David Beckham
Probably the most famous right foot on the planet.
Beckham’s opening day wonder strike from his own half against Wimbledon in 1996 saw him, and his right foot, become a household name almost overnight.
The former England captain’s unique style of striking a ball was to become renowned worldwide and saw him go on to play for some of the biggest teams in Europe. Beckham will forever be recognised as one of the best dead-ball specialists in the history of the game.
Legs (Pace): Cristiano Ronaldo
Of the many attributes Cristiano Ronaldo possesses, his pace is undoubtably one of the most impressive.
The Portuguese forward possesses explosive pace over both short and long distance. His goal at the Emirates against Arsenal in the semi-finals of the 2009 Champions League saw him sprint from near the edge of his own box to the Arsenal box in just ten seconds, before finishing off a sublime counter-attack.
At 35 the Euro 2016 winner is still blessed with an unbelievable turn of pace, testament to his lifestyle and intense training regime.