Manchester United have had some of the most remarkable players to have ever graced the world of football. From the mercurial talent of George Best to present-day superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo, United fans have been treated to some exceptional talent over the years.
But while many can recall their United exploits with ease, we may not be so familiar with what these legends did outside of Old Trafford. Here are six huge achievements that United stars have achieved outside of Manchester, and it makes for some impressive reading.
Most goals in a Premier League season – Andy Cole
Let’s start with a record that’s likely to be broken very soon.
Still, Andy Cole’s 34 goals in 42 games remains an impressive record prior to his record-breaking move to United in 1995. It was part of a run to a third-placed league finish for his club Newcastle, including a hat-trick against Liverpool along the way. Cole also scored in 26 different Premier League games that season, which is still a record.
Cole, of course, kept his goalscoring prowess up at United where he played a key role in the Treble-winning team of 1999. Known for his partnership with Dwight Yorke, he’ll always be welcome at Old Trafford, but it was at St. James Park where the legend was born.
Most World Cup clean sheets – Fabian Barthez
We may recall France’s World Cup winning exploits of 1998 with an image of other former United player Laurent Blanc kissing the bald head of Mr. Barthez before every game en route to the final, but the keeper also has one other impressive World Cup fact up his sleeve: he has the most World Cup clean sheets.
Making his international debut just before his big move to Monaco, Barthez kept his place in the national side following a great run of club form, something he achieved despite the attraction of Monte Carlo’s world-famous highroller casinos on his doorstep and the threat of gambling addiction that comes with them.
It led him to his first World Cup in 1998 where he helped France lift their first-ever World Cup with a remarkable five clean sheets in seven games. While 2002 was a washout, he still added one shutout to his total before his swansong 2006 finals saw him keep four more as France marched to the final.
His ten clean sheets are still a joint record, which he shares with England legend Peter Shilton.
England’s youngest goalscorer and outfield player with the most caps – Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney will, of course, go down as one of the greatest United players of all time. The club’s record goalscorer, he won 16 trophies with The Reds over the years, including the Champions League, Europa League and multiple Premier League titles.
Yet somehow, amidst all that, he still found time to become England’s record cap-holder for an outfield player with 120 caps, just five behind Shilton.
Another equally impressive record is that he’s still England’s youngest-ever goalscorer, netting in a 2-1 win over Macedonia a few weeks shy of his 18th birthday. That was the first of 52 goals for his country, a record that Harry Kane has only just surpassed.
Highest scoring midfielder in a single European season – Bruno Fernandes
It’s fair to say that Bruno Fernandes is a decent goalscorer. When he broke Frank Lampard’s Premier League record by scoring 28 goals in all competitions for United in 2020/2021, it wasn’t the first time he’d made the record books.
While at Sporting Lisbon, he’d already bagged an incredible 33 goals in league and cups a couple of years earlier, including a goal in every round leading up to their final win over Porto in the Portuguese cup. The total remains a European record for a midfielder and it’s difficult to see anyone breaking it in the foreseeable future.
United fans will be hoping it’s Fernandes himself next season.
Real Madrid and Portugal’s all-time top scorer – Cristiano Ronaldo
You can’t write an article about records without including CR7.
The legendary Portuguese forward has a list of records as long as his arm, but perhaps the most impressive is the fact that he’s the record all-time scorer for both club and country, and the club just happened to be Real Madrid.
Ronaldo scored more than one goal a game for Madrid: a quite incredible record that helped the Spanish club win four Champions Leagues while there.
His 102 goals in 146 games for Portugal, meanwhile, has helped them win the Euros and a Nations League.
He’s also 14th on both Juventus and United’s top list of all-time scorers, for good measure.