in 1998/99. Just two years after the Reds’ unparalleled Treble campaign, Ruud van Nistelrooy joined his compatriot in M16, even though their alliance lasted just two games before Stam was sold. Ruud soon had another cohort, however, when Edwin van der Sar arrived in 2005, and the veteran goalkeeper went on to set a British record for successive clean sheets, as well as sealing the Reds’ 2008 Champions League triumph.
Total appearances: 828 Total goals: 177
Three Norwegians have made major first-team contributions at United: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ronny Johnsen and Henning Berg. Solskjaer proved to be one of the most astute signings in Premier League history after arriving for £1.5million in 1996 and, of course, wrote his name into folklore with the winner in the 1999 Champions League final. Still revered by the Old Trafford fans, he coached the Reserves after hanging up his boots. Johnsen signed soon after Ole from Besiktas and was largely an unsung hero who made valuable contributions in defence and midfield despite persistent knee problems. Henning Berg proved versatile and dependable following his move from Blackburn a year later and won two titles to add to the one he received at Ewood Park. Strikers Erik Nevland and Joshua King have also had brief action for Sir Alex’s side.
Total appearances: 626 Total goals: 139
Although Brazil has consistently produced some of the best footballers in the world, it took until 2003 before United had a samba star of its own. But Jose Kleberson, a World Cup winner the previous summer, never quite reproduced his international form for the Reds, perhaps owing to various injuries he picked up in his two seasons at Old Trafford. He left in 2005 after making just 30 appearances. Anderson, Rafael and Fabio – all still at United – have fared slightly better than their pioneering compatriot, racking up 288 games between them and playing major roles in both domestic and European trophies. Sir Alex has even said of