Ronaldo To Madrid – 10 Top Players Who Left Man Utd

Cristiano Ronaldo is on his way to Real Madrid for a fee in the region of €94m. Carlo Garganese looks at 10 big names who left Old Trafford, and whether they were a success at their new club.

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United (PA)
Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United (PA)

Johnny Giles to Leeds – 1963 (£33k)

Irishman Giles came through at United in the aftermath of the Munich Air Disaster, and established himself as one of Britain’s most promising youngsters, playing an important role in the FA Cup victory of 1963. He then demanded a transfer, joining Leeds United, where he would spend 12 brilliant years, winning two league titles. One of the greats of the English game.

Transfer success: 9/10

Ray Wilkins to AC Milan – 1984 (£1.5m)

Departed Old Trafford after five decent years controlling the midfield, the highlight being lifting the FA Cup in 1983 - even scoring in the final against Brighton. Moved to the mighty Milan, and had three sound years in the fashion capital, but the Rossoneri were building after two relegations to Serie B, and Wilkins just missed out on the Silvio Berlusconi glory of the late 1980s.

Transfer success: 6/10

Mark Hughes to Barcelona – 1986 (£2m)

Burst onto the scene in the first half of the 1980s, and became a crowd favourite, scoring a hatful of goals. Terry Venables signed the Welshman for Barcelona in 1986 along with Gary Linker, but unlike the former Everton man, ‘Sparky’ had a disastrous season, scoring just four goals. He was loaned out to Bayern Munich, before returning to enjoy renewed success at Man Utd.

Hughes flopped in Catalonia

Transfer success: 2/10

Paul McGrath to Aston Villa – 1989 (£400k)

A truly brilliant defender, who would have been even better had he not been ‘drunk’ half the time he trained and played. McGrath won one FA Cup with United, but by 1989 his career was said to be virtually over due to injuries and alcohol problems. Aston Villa took a chance on the 29-year-old, and he would go on to become one of the club’s best-ever players over the next seven years, even being named PFA Player of the Year in 1993.

McGrath is a legend at Villa Park

Transfer Success: 9/10

Andrei Kanchelskis to Everton – 1995 (£4.5m)

One of the Premier League’s best wingers after its formation, Kanchelskis was a key reason for Manchester United’s dominance between 1992 and 1995, but he fell out with Sir Alex Ferguson, and surprisingly moved to Everton for a then club record Goodison Park fee. The Russian had a superb first season, scoring twice in the Merseyside Derby against Liverpool, but moved to Fiorentina for £8m the following term, where he was an almighty injury flop. Yet, Everton made a great profit.

Transfer Success: 7/10

Paul Ince to Inter – 1995 (£7.5m)

‘The Guvnor’ was involved in a number of controversial transfers during his career, and one was his move from Man Utd to Inter. At Old Trafford he had been the midfield lynchpin of the side that dominated the early years of the Premier League.

Ince was a midfield terrier at Inter

In 1995, Serie A was far-and-away the best league in the world, but Ince impressed in his two years at San Siro, missing out on UEFA Cup glory on penalty kicks. One of the few Englishmen to do well in Italy.

Transfer Success: 7/10

Lee Sharpe to Leeds United – 1996 (£4.5m)

Before Ryan Giggs, there was another phenomenal winger that delighted the Stretford End. His name was Lee Sharpe, and he was named PFA Player of the Year in 1991 after dazzling in the European Cup Winners’ Cup success that year. However, his form and fitness dipped after the emergence of Giggs, and he was allowed to join Leeds in 1996, still only 25. Sharpe never rediscovered any kind of form – he was simply burnt-out by his mid-twenties.

Transfer Success: 1/10

Jaap Stam to Lazio – 2001 (£16.5m)

During his peak at Manchester United, Stam was arguably the best centre back in the world, and he single-handedly held the defence together during their historic treble-winning season in 1999. After three stellar years in the Premier League, some controversial comments made in his autobiography about Sir Alex Ferguson led to the Dutchman being offloaded to Lazio. The Biancocelesti were on their way to financial meltdown at the time, but Stam still excelled, and he would later move on to Milan and lose that Champions League Final to Liverpool.

Stam was a rock at the back for United, then Lazio

Transfer Success: 7/10

David Beckham to Real Madrid – 2003 (£25m)

Graduating from the Man Utd youth academy, Beckham spent 10 glorious years in the senior team, winning a whole host of honours, including six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a Champions League. Like Stam, he fell out with Ferguson, and was sold to the Real Madrid Galacticos. He was unfortunate to join an ageing team, but he finished his four years on a high by finally win La Liga under Fabio Capello in 2007.

Transfer Success: 6/10

Ruud Van Nistelrooy to Real Madrid – 2006 (£11m)

After five prolific seasons at Man Utd where he scored 150 goals, winning one Premier League crown, Van Nistelrooy’s relationship with Ferguson also deteriorated and he left for Fabio Capello’s Real Madrid in the summer of 2006. It was a masterstroke by Capello, as the Dutchman fired home 25 league goals to take the Blancos to their first title since 2003. Van Nistelrooy scored another 16 the following campaign as Madrid retained the championship.

Goal machine in Madrid

Transfer Success: 8/10

Cristiano Ronaldo To Real Madrid – 2009 (£80m)

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