The Top Six: Signings of the Decade
Ruud Van Nistelrooy (£19m)
Signing the striker was a risk – Van Nistelrooy couldn’t even pass a medical. But it turned out to be £19 million well spent, as the Dutch striker had achieved many feats such as scoring more goals than any Man Utd player in Europe (second highest in history). He was also named PFA Player of the Year in 2002, as well as winning the Golden Boot the following year.
Cristiano Ronaldo (£12.2m)
We didn’t know too much about him when he first arrived. But, Cristiano Ronaldo wasted little time settling into his new home, and before you knew it, he was scoring goals for fun and winning just as many awards.
Plenty of great moments for the winger that he will never forget, including the 40-yard goal against Porto. Or the free-kick against Portsmouth. Or the ‘Superman’ header against Roma. All great goals in their own way. But without doubt, the 42-goal season will be something to tell the grand-kids. Being named FIFA Footballer of the Year isn’t too shabby, either.
Rio Ferdinand (£29m)
The rock at the back has been terrific since being banned for missing his drugs test back in 2002, having captained the side to the Champions League and Premier League double in 2008, as well as winning the league again following year.
Though he has been under a lot of scrutiny this season, there’s no doubting what he brings to United, and when he comes back from what has been a rather long stay on the sidelines he, hopefully, can perform like we know he can do. And if fit, of course he’s going to go to the World Cup. And if he does stay fit, fingers crossed, we can look forward to another edition of Rio’s World Cup Wind-Ups.
Wayne Rooney (£27m)
A lot of pressure on you if you’ve just been signed for under £30million. But on his debut in front of a packed Old Trafford, he had one of those games that he will always treasure. A hat-trick on debut, including a beauty of a free-kick is one to tell Kai Wayne about.
He is more than a striker. A hard-working, tireless, versatile forward who not only scores goals but creates them too. His link up play, ability to spot a pass, or the fact that he can shoot from distance with accuracy is just some of the many good things you could say about him.
Nemanja Vidic (£7m)
£7m for a defender that is now recognised as one of the world best surely has to be one of Sir Alex’s best buys. Another rock at the back, who with Ferdinand has helped win titles for the club just because of their consistency. The man who helped the club earn a record 14 consecutive clean sheets last season.
Edwin van der Sar (£2m)
The veteran goalkeeper has won nearly everything before joining the club, and when he arrived at Old Trafford, he has helped United win everything. One of the best ‘keepers around, he’s the one to thank for the 14 consecutive clean sheet record the season before. The Dutch goalkeeper is showing little signs of ageing, continuing to make the top-class saves that he has done for years. Injuries are a slight problem.