Are these Rashford's top five moments in Europe?
Manchester United hero Marcus Rashford is likely to make his 50th appearance in UEFA competition on Thursday night, when Roma visit Old Trafford in the Europa League semi-finals.
Rashford’s 49 appearances in European competition are almost divided evenly, with 24 in both the Champions League and Europa League, as well as one outing in the Super Cup. Ahead of his 50th appearance, we rank his five greatest moments…
5: THERE GOES MY HERO
United 2 Anderlecht 1 (2016/17)
Europa League quarter-final second leg
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was a revelation during his first season at United, by scoring 28 goals in all competitions, so the sight of him leaving the pitch on a stretcher was genuinely awful. His injury looked worryingly serious – it ultimately ended his campaign – and we needed to a hero to step up in his absence.
As we all know by now, Marcus is a man for the big occasion and he delivered perfectly on this evening, scoring an extra-time winner with a brilliant turn and finish from Marouane Fellaini's knockdown, sending us through to the Europa League semi-finals and closer to success in Stockholm.
Celta Vigo 0 United 1 (2016/17)
Europa League semi-final first leg
With United placed outside of the Premier League's top four, our best route into the Champions League was by winning the Europa League and Celta posed a tricky test in the semi-finals. The first leg in Spain was a bitty, frustrating affair that could have swung either way in all honesty, until one moment of magic from the Wythenshawe wonder proved decisive.
Rashford, fresh from his aforementioned winner against Anderlecht, stood over a free-kick to the right of the hosts’ penalty area. After Daley Blind's decoy run, the England international whipped the ball over the wall, past the outstretched left hand of goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez and just inside the far post. It felt like a coming-of-age moment, from a prodigious talent of increasing influence.
United 5 FC Midtjylland 1 (2015/16)
Europa League last-32 second leg
A 2-1 defeat in Denmark made this return fixture at Old Trafford an unexpectedly important night and an injury to Anthony Martial, suffered in the warm-up, left manager Louis van Gaal with a decision to make: play somebody up front out of position, or trust in an untested youth prospect?
The Dutchman embraced United’s Academy ethos and starting Rashford was rewarded handsomely, after the teenager scored twice in a 5-1 win under the lights. Images of Marcus celebrating with a watching Dean Henderson in the stand have become iconic (see below) and the rest, as they so often say, is history.
United 5 RB Leipzig 0 (2020/21)
Champions League group stage
Rashford was a 63rd-minute substitute and netted three goals in 16 minutes, first running clear to calmly slot in, then smashing in a terrific second, before drilling home a third in stoppage time. This remarkable achievement made our no.10 just the fifth player in Champions League history to score a hat-trick as a substitute, though his 27-minute cameo was the fewest number of minutes played.
How about this for a stat? Marcus also became only the second United player to score a hat-trick as a substitute that night, joining his manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who scored four from the bench versus Nottingham Forest in February 1999.
1: ONE NIGHT IN PARIS
PSG 1 United 3
Champions League last-16 second leg
Perhaps the most iconic moment of Rashford’s career so far, this nerveless penalty in added time highlighted all we have come to love about the player: strength of character, composure under pressure, a willingness to step up and, as we saw in the celebrations, a genuine passion for United.
Yes, it was only a last-16 tie, but it was all about the context: we lost 2-0 in the first leg and travelled to France with an absurd number of injuries, forcing Ole to field a makeshift side, with several players out of position and four untested Academy graduates on the bench. Yet we still believed.
Romelu Lukaku’s brace had us 2-1 up late on and, after Diogo Dalot’s speculative shot struck the hand of Presnel Kimpembe, Rashford thumped home the VAR-awarded spot-kick in the 94th minute, causing delirious scenes that had the likes of Eric Cantona crying tears of joy in the stand.
Marcus returned to the scene in 2020, of course, to score another late winner against Thomas Tuchel's side in France, although that terrific finish narrowly missed out on our countdown.