Manchester United fans saw the sensational second arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo yesterday, who scored twice in the Red Devils’ 4-1 win over Newcastle at Old Trafford.
The Portugal international originally retired from Manchester United in 2009 after helping the club to three Premier League titles, a Champions League, an FA Cup and a League Cup after putting his heart on a move to Real Madrid Had set.
Just over a decade after his £ 80m move to the Bernabeu, the legendary striker is back to a United player who abruptly ended his stint at Juventus only to rejoin his former club rivals Manchester despite a brief flirtation with Bitter City.
While the excitement continues to mount after the striker’s great second debut, a lot has undoubtedly changed for all parties since his previous engagement in English football as the club is no longer top dogs and Ronaldo is no longer the raging attacker he once was.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five players who have scored the most goals for the club in the 12 years since he left United.
Robin Van Persie – 58
Robin Van Persie, one of the most successful signings in a decade riddled with costly transfer errors, stunned the Premier League with his decision to trade rival Arsenal for United in 2012 after previously serving as the flagship and captain of the Emirates.
After scoring 30 league goals with the Gunners last season, the Dutchman was seen as the man who helped take back the Red Devil crown after taking the title on the final day from Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City side.
As a sign of Sir Alex Ferguson’s desperate pursuit of a 20th club title, the deadly shooter presented the number 20 shirt and needed little time to settle in his new surroundings, scoring with his first shot in a 3-2 win over Fulham . his first goal.
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That was a sign of the future as he scored 26 top division goals to help United recapture the title from their “noisy neighbors” and memorably fired in a stunning volley to claim the title triumph in a 3 . to seal -0 win against Aston Villa.
Despite a breathtaking start to life at Old Trafford, that would be as good as possible for the seasoned striker as a form loss, injury and Ferguson’s departure all played their part in the disappointing years to come for both the player and the club. when he achieved a respectable but less productive record of 22 goals in the next two seasons together.
After only three years at the club, he moved to Fenerbache in 2015 before ending his career with the first club Feyenoord in 2019.
Javier Hernandez – 59
Only Javier Hernandez, the Mexican striker who has had a constant scoring presence during his five years at the club, has pushed Van Persie to fourth place.
Much like current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, ‘Chicharito’ was a relatively unknown player when he walked through the door in 2010 but quickly became a hit with United support for his reckless finish and outstanding benchmark impact.
Most notably in his debut season, the former Guadalajara man was productive on goal, scoring 20 goals in all competitions including 13 in the league, and memorably scoring the first goal in the 2-1 win over rivals Chelsea to win the title the Red Devils.
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The poacher seemed to be enjoying the games against the Blues, scoring a remarkable nine-goal record against the West London club in just 15 appearances in all competitions, particularly a somewhat controversial winner in the 3-2 win at Stamford Bridge that season 2012/13 campaign.
With over ten league goals in each of his first three seasons at Old Trafford, the arrival of David Moyes in place of Ferguson hampered his playing time and scoring chances as he only scored four league goals and nine in all competitions before moving off a shock in the 2014 season / 15 on loan to Real Madrid.
A move to Bayer Leverkusen was to follow a permanent contract before a brief return to England with West Ham and a stopover in Spain with Sevilla. The 33-year-old is currently practicing his trade for the LA Galaxy MLS team.
Anthony Martial – 78
Anthony Martial, one of just two on this list still at the club, continues to divide opinions among fans and experts.
The signing of the then teenage boy had in truth come out of the blue with this little-known Frenchman signing an initial £ 36million deal and tasked with taking over the reins, with the club seeing Van Persie leave and opting for Radamel Falcao failed to commit to firm contract after his disappointing loan season the year before.
The nimble striker, who presented the number nine shirt, won the home team with immediate effect on debut, got off the bench and scored a stunning goal against fierce rivals Liverpool home game at Old Trafford to help the hosts win.
He finished that season as the club’s top scorer with 17 goals in all competitions, but Louis Van Gaal’s departure appeared to result in a loss of form and playing time, with Martial falling out of favor under new coach Jose Mourinho.
Despite rumors of an exit, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s arrival appeared to initially rejuvenate the striker as he recaptured his mid-role and number 9 shirt, scoring 23 goals in all competitions in the 2019-20 season.
However, he currently faces an uncertain future after scoring just four league goals last season and Ronaldo’s arrival likely to cut his playing time.
Marcus Rashford – 88
Martial’s teammate, Marcus Rashford, is next on this list, the academy product being one of the true success stories to emerge from the tumultuous post Ferguson era.
The then 18-year-old came into the spotlight after surprisingly starting a Europa League game against FC Midtjylland in February 2016 after a series of injuries against the Danes.
Just days later, under his Premier League bow, Rashford continued his stunning start to first-team life, scoring another brace against Arsenal in the 3-2 win at Old Trafford and the season with eight goals a season finished all competitions and earned a place in the 2016 European Championship squad.
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Since then he has had to wait his time under Mourinho, but has been successful since Solskjaer’s appointment. The Norwegian trusts the young star completely, although the versatile striker has played the main role of the club alongside Bruno Fernandes at times in recent seasons.
His coach’s trust has been almost negative at times for the 23-year-old as Solskjaer often rarely changed the Englishman even with injuries, a factor that led him to end up with foot and shoulder problems towards the end of last season.
He is currently on hold for surgery on the latter, but is expected in the next few weeks, while he has been widely recognized for his excellent work in combating child hunger and poverty.
Wayne Rooney – 156
At the top of the pile is, unsurprisingly, Wayne Rooney, the former Everton man who wore the coat as the club’s figurehead after Ronaldo’s departure in 2009.
Together, the two men had forged one of the most fearsome lines of strikers in Premier League history after taking three straight titles in the late noughties, but the Englishman was also impressive on his own, becoming more of a top scorer in the years after his departure of his former teammate.
Between 2009 and 2012 he scored 64 goals in the Premier League, including the best overall record of his career of 27 league goals in the 2011/12 season.
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A departure seemed likely again in 2013 after a frustrating last season for Rooney under the Scotsman when Van Persie took center stage in an otherwise tumultuous time.
After being named captain by Moyes’ successor Van Gaal, he slowly changed his role from a raging striker to a playful central midfielder, although he was still a constant source of goals.
Despite breaking the club record with 253 goals, Rooney found his playing time under Jose Mourinho limited and essentially forced to return to Goodison Park in 2017 before retiring to DC United and Derby County.
Read – Unforgettable Debuts: Cristiano Ronaldo, Old Trafford Witness the Birth of an Icon
Also Read – Remember the Man United XI of Ronaldo’s iconic 2003 debut against Bolton
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