12 mind-blowing playing crossovers
This week, we spoke to Diego Forlan about his time at Internacional with Fred and heard Anthony Elanga reiterate how his father was a team-mate of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's at Malmo.
It got us thinking about some other notable crossovers where footballers seemingly from different eras were colleagues at some point during their careers. These were individuals with a connection to United.
We appreciate there will be loads more so get in touch via our social media channels if you can come up with any better suggestions but here are 12 that made us stop and take notice...
Forlan recalls playing with FredArticle
Diego tells us what our Brazil midfielder was like when they were team-mates in South America.
1. DAVID BECKHAM & DAVID MOYES
Our former midfielder was still making his way in the game when Alex Ferguson decided he would be best served by a loan move away from Old Trafford. A successful short switch to Preston North End was lined up, and the Deepdale outfit had a Scottish centre-back within their ranks by the name of David Moyes. This was back in the 1994/95 season and, while Becks would return to United and force his way into the first team after Andrei Kanchelskis's exit, Moyes won the Third Division title with the Lancashire side. Some time later, of course, he would be the man to replace his fellow countryman Ferguson at the United helm.
2. ANTHONY MARTIAL & DIMITAR BERBATOV
They may appear to be from very different United sides but the two strikers played together at Monaco. Martial was an up-and-coming youngster impressing with his pace and skill while Bulgarian goal-grabber Berba had finished his spell in the Premier League, with Fulham, to head to the Principality in 2014/15. In another United link, Berbatov was actually signed to replace injured Colombian Radamel Falcao. The forwards played on the same side 25 times before moving on to pastures new.
3. MARCOS ROJO & JUAN SEBASTIAN VERON
Rojo joined the Reds in 2014 and only left last year but was part of the same Estudiantes team that contained gifted playmaker Veron, a veteran of the 1998 World Cup who arrived at Old Trafford in 2001. It was a real thrill for the defender to play with Veron, who was twice voted South American Player of the Year. Continuing the links, Veron's father had been on the opposing side and even scored against United for Estudiantes in the 1968 Intercontinental Cup and, although his stay is not regarded as a success, 'The Little Witch' is still regarded as a classy, skilled operator.
4. NEMANJA MATIC & ALEX BUTTNER
A part of our current midfield set-up, Matic, was once a colleague of Dutch full-back Buttner at Vitesse Arnhem. The Serbian was only on loan at the Eredivisie side, from Chelsea, and did not come to Manchester until 2017, when snapped up by Jose Mourinho. Buttner signed in 2012 and was part of the Premier League-winning squad in the following year before switching to Dynamo Moscow in 2014.
5. HARRY MAGUIRE & DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM
The two centre-backs appeared to come from different eras but were together at Sheffield United. Current skipper Maguire, who also played with the likes of Nick Powell and Will Keane at Hull City, was a team-mate of Higginbotham's at Bramall Lane. Danny came through the ranks with the Reds in the late 1990s and the Blades proved to be his last league club in 2013. The deal with the then-League One club was only for six months but it brought the two defenders together in the Steel City.
6. MARK BOSNICH & VIV ANDERSON
While keeper Bosnich may have won the Premier League with the Reds in 1999/2000, he actually made one appearance in his first spell at Old Trafford, back in 1990 as a raw 17-year-old. It came against Wimbledon at the Theatre of Dreams and he kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw. Operating just in front of the young goalie was experienced defender Anderson, Ferguson's first signing. The ex-England international had won the European Cup way back in 1979 and 1980 with Nottingham Forest. Also among Bosnich's colleagues that night was Colin Gibson, who won the league title with Aston Villa in 1981.
7. LOU MACARI & GEORGE BEST
Now an MUTV pundit, Lou moved down from Celtic in 1973 to join the Reds, at a time when Best's glorious Old Trafford career was coming to an end. The Northern Ireland icon would play his final Reds match in January of the following year, against Queens Park Rangers, but only after being part of the same side as Macari. The Scotland international certainly spanned different eras as he remained with the club until 1984, with his last outing coming in the shock FA Cup third-round exit to Harry Redknapp's Bournemouth, when Ron Atkinson's men were the holders.
8. ANDY COLE & JONNY EVANS
They both won the Premier League with United but Jonny's success as part of our last title-winning team seems a long while after Coley was firing home the goals in the 1990s. The prolific striker had a good career after leaving Old Trafford and it was at Sunderland where the pair's paths would cross. Roy Keane was manager of the Black Cats and not only was he reunited with partner Dwight Yorke but a young Evans was also on Wearside. Keane raided his former club to bring the Northern Ireland defender in on loan and he had two excellent spells at the Stadium of Light.
9. ERIC CANTONA & LAURENT BLANC
It may not be a huge surprise these two France internationals played together, particularly considering Blanc's longevity but their time together at club level came many years before the defender would eventually end up at Old Trafford in the 21st century. Blanc started his career with Montpellier, featuring against the Reds in the 1990/91 European Cup Winners' Cup run, and Cantona had been a colleague in the previous campaign, when on loan from Marseille. There have been far more shocking team-mates for Blanc - we're thinking Roger Milla and Careca are among them, but in terms of a United perspective, this is perhaps most notable.
10. RAPHAEL VARANE & JAVIER HERNANDEZ
Our current centre-back opted for Real Madrid after emerging as a promising defender with Lens and had an extremely successful stay at the Bernabeu. Among his many team-mates in the Spanish capital was a certain Chicharito, the Mexican marksman who was loved at Old Trafford. The Little Pea had a loan stint with Real in 2014/15, after winning two Premier League titles with the Reds. The duo played together 26 times with Hernandez's most frequent team-mate actually another Reds star in Cristiano Ronaldo.
11. BEN FOSTER & ROMELU LUKAKU
Foster proved a shrewd signing by Sir Alex Ferguson and won the League Cup with the Reds in 2009 and 2010. Some seven years later, United signed Lukaku from Everton to lead our attack and he had previous with the Reds after scoring a hat-trick for West Brom in Sir Alex's final game in charge, a 5-5 draw. The Hawthorns was where this pair were team-mates as the Belgium international enjoyed a superb 2012/13 season. Veteran keeper Foster, of course, kept a clean sheet at Old Trafford recently for Watford and is still going strong.
12. LOUIS VAN GAAL & ARNOLD MUHREN
Okay, so they're both Dutch and virtually the same age so it's probably no big shock that they were part of the same Ajax squad in the early 1970s. Yet, probably because van Gaal's playing career was in the long distant past when he arrived at Old Trafford as manager in 2014, it is hard to equate him as a team-mate of the classy midfielder who scored one of our goals in the FA Cup final replay win over Brighton & Hove Albion. Muhren was, like Veron, a superb talent who is remembered fondly for his skills. Van Gaal did leave Ajax without breaking into the senior side, despite featuring for the Reserves.