The Manchester derby: A global game

Saturday 14 January 2023 09:00

All eyes will be on Old Trafford this weekend as Manchester United take on Manchester City in the 189th derby between the two sides.

While local bragging rights have always been at stake, the international dimensions to the fixture have increased over time.

As this extract from our matchday programme United Review shows, the 123 different goalscorers in the Manchester derby so far have come from all over the world...

Matchday Q&A | Ten Hag on Man City (H) Video

Matchday Q&A | Ten Hag on Man City (H)

Erik previews his first Old Trafford derby and explains Wout Weghorst's signing in this matchday interview...


Scorers: Four

Top scorers: Eric Cantona remains the king of the Manchester derby, hitting an astonishing eight goals in seven appearances against City. The Frenchman made his bow against the Blues as a second-half substitute in December 1992 and subsequently embarked on an extraordinary sequence: scoring in a 1-1 draw, bagging home and away braces in 1993/94, opening the scoring in 1994’s 5-0 romp, then rounding off his run with penalties in two early 1996 victories. Though countrymen Louis Saha, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial all joined Cantona on the list of derby scorers, Le Roi remains a figure of singular derby brilliance.

Most recent: Martial’s brace at the Etihad Stadium in November took his personal haul to five goals in 15 derbies. Four of his total have come on City’s patch, including 2019’s winner, while his sole Old Trafford effort opened the scoring in 2020’s thrilling home win.


Scorers: Three

Top scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo typically heads the way as both the first and most prolific Portuguese scorer in the derby, with a quartet of goals from a dozen outings. All four goals coincided with victories, starting with 2004’s 10-man FA Cup triumph at Old Trafford, then home and away Premier League efforts (including a title-clinching penalty) in 2006/07, followed by a 2009 free-kick which proved to be the final goal of his first term as a Red. Compatriot Nani enjoyed a similar ratio, with three goals in 11 derbies, opening the scoring before Wayne Rooney’s famous overhead kick, then nabbing a brilliant Wembley brace to secure the 2011 Community Shield.

Most recent: Bruno Fernandes set the ball rolling with a second-minute penalty in 2021’s stunning win at the Etihad Stadium.

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90 in 20: City 0 United 2

Was that our best performance of the season on Sunday? Watch the extended highlights to make your mind up…


Scorers: Two

Top scorer: Inevitably, Ruud van Nistelrooy sets the scoring standard, striking six times in seven derbies. His first effort was cancelled out in a 1-1 draw during the 2002/03 title run-in, but the Dutchman nodded in at the Scoreboard End a term later, then hit a Stretford End pair in United’s 4-2 FA Cup success in 2004. For good measure, van Nistelrooy also netted home and away during 2005/06, his final season at Old Trafford. To this day, he remains one of only two Dutchmen to bag in the derby.

Most recent: The other, of course, is Robin van Persie, who scored once in three outings against the Blues, but made it a memorable one by hitting 2012’s last-gasp free-kick winner at the Etihad. 

Van Nistelrooy's Top 10 Premier League goals Video

Van Nistelrooy's Top 10 Premier League goals

If you're looking for goals, look no further than Ruud van Nistelrooy! Watch his 10 best in the league...


In Manchester derby history, many more players are the only goalscorers from their respective countries...


Andrei Kanchelskis

Record: Four goals in five derbies. Born and raised in Ukraine before playing for three national teams in the ’90s (USSR, the CIS and Russia), the winger notched United’s most recent derby hat-trick in a 5-0 blitz in M16, before netting the second in a 3-0 Maine Road stroll later in ’94/95.

United 5 Manchester City 0 Video

United 5 Manchester City 0

10 November 1994: Andrei Kanchelskis secures his place in Reds history with a derby hat-trick.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Record: One goal in four derbies.In 2002’s 1-3 defeat at Maine Road, Solskjaer provided a fleeting positive by briefly levelling the scorelines with a typically clinical finish. The Norwegian no.20 slid in to stab a half-volley past former team-mate Peter Schmeichel from Ryan Giggs’s sublime cross.


If you enjoyed this extract, read all about the other nationalities of derby goalscorers, and plenty of other exclusive content and interviews in this week's edition of United Review.

Order your copy online, or pick it up outside Old Trafford prior to kick-off for £3.50.

In addition, you can also purchase our exclusive magazine Inside United on matchdays too, at a special discounted price of £7 if you buy it with the matchday programme – ask for the ‘double deal’.