弗格森签下的五位最佳球员 - By Simon Jones, Ian Ladyman and Neil Ashton(8 May 2013)
- Strong rumours that the 71-year-old will step down this week
- Sir Alex has won 13 Premier League titles during his United reign
- He has also won five FA Cup and four League Cups for the Old Trafford club
- His side won the European Champions League in 1999 and 2008
- David Moyes, Ryan Giggs and Jose Mourinho tipped to replace him
Top of the stoppers: Peter Schmeichel
Peter Schmeichel (signed from Brondby, 1991)
Widely regarded as the greatest goalkeeper in Premier League history, the Dane's heroic efforts provided clean sheets aplenty and the security at the back which was so key to United's success throughout the 1990s. Schmeichel, recruited for around ￡500,000, knew how to intimidate opposition strikers by making optimum use of his frame and at times appeared just as fearful for his defenders, who would frequently receive a rollicking from him. Capped eight glorious years with the club by skippering United - in the absence of the suspended Roy Keane - in the 1999 Champions League final as Ferguson's men secured the treble.
Eric Cantona (signed from Leeds, 1992)
Cantona's five-year spell at United will never be forgotten. The Frenchman, who cost Ferguson just over ￡1million, gave the club's fans many a moment to savour on the pitch with his dazzling skills, which helped the Red Devils to a haul of four Premier League titles and two FA Cups. But what perhaps cemented his iconic status was the way he played the part of the tortured genius. The most infamous instance of his short temper was the kung-fu kick he aimed at a Crystal Palace supporter and he made philosophical comments afterwards about seagulls following a trawler. It was somewhat appropriate that he exited early leaving the crowd wanting more, retiring aged 30 in 1997.
Driving force: Roy Keane
Roy Keane (signed from Nottingham Forest, 1993)
The ￡3.75million Ferguson paid Forest for Keane was a British transfer record at the time, but there is little question that he got value for money. In 12 years of service, the Irish midfielder was United's engine room and driving force as they dominated English football through the 1990s and into the next decade. He also led them to the 1999 Champions League final, only to miss the game through suspension. Keane succeeded Cantona as captain and was just as combustible a character, if not more so. But it was that edge on the field that so endeared him to United fans and made him the player everyone else wanted in their team.
Cristiano Ronaldo (signed from Sporting Lisbon, 2003)
Megastar: Cristiano Ronaldo
Ferguson signed a teenage Ronaldo for
￡12.24million and it looked as if he may have paid over the odds for
little more than a showboater in the early days of the Portuguese
forward's United career. He soon showed his game was not just about
stepovers, though, developing into one of the world's most potent
players. Ronaldo scored an incredible total of 42 goals for the club in
the 2007-08 season as the Red Devils won the Champions League. Although
his exit to Real Madrid a year later was a blow, the world record
￡80million fee he commanded softened it considerably.
Edwin van der Sar (signed from Fulham, 2005)