⚡️ Get the free App now
Favorites Edit

Top 5 players who became better after leaving Manchester United

Conor Lochrie
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 14:53 IST

Cristiano Ronaldo found unparalleled success at Real Madrid

Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world, and have been for many decades now. Only Real Madrid and Barcelona, Spain's big 2, can match them in terms of worldwide following, combined with wealth.

Playing for England's most successful club is the pinnacle for most footballers. It's where they usually have the best chance at winning big trophies and accomplishing the most in their careers.

Many players end up finding, then, that life after Old Trafford isn't so sweet; they either drop to lower level clubs in their older age or perform nowhere near as well as they did in Manchester. It's difficult to beat playing for the Red Devils.

The club has also been blessed with one-club men like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, legends who never once thought about playing football for any other teams in the world. There are, however, exceptions and some players do manage to find success after leaving the club.

Some individuals reached their peak after their time in Manchester, going on to do great things elsewhere in Europe; others showed their true capabilities away from the pressure of playing for a club like Manchester United after they surprisingly found little success and silverware with the Red Devils.

With that being said, this slideshow looks at the 5 most notable examples of players who spent time at Manchester United, but ultimately, performed better only after leaving the club:

#5 Angel Di Maria

International Champions Cup 2017 - Paris Saint-Germain v Juventus
Di Maria has been much better at PSG, without having to be the main focal point of the attack

It surprisingly never really worked out for Di Maria at Manchester United. He arrived from Real Madrid and was cited as the player to transform the team after Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.

By the end of the 2014/2015 season, however, many in the media judged him as the worst signing of the season but this was a harsh appraisal. Di Maria struggled because the team as a whole struggled, and he often found himself in unfamiliar positions and unfamiliar formations at the behest of then manager Louis van Gaal.


He managed only 4 goals in 32 appearances across all competitions, but was unfortunate to play for the club in one of their most disappointing seasons of the 21st century. PSG rescued the Argentine for a large transfer fee and he has shown much better form in France.

Di Maria won the Ligue 1 title in his first season in Paris and scored an excellent 10 league goals. He would also end that season with a new league record, having provided 18 assists for his teammates; this was the Di Maria of old, the Di Maria of Real Madrid.

After the arrival of a certain Neymar to PSG, the winger has found his opportunities in the first team relatively stifled, so far this season, but that hasn't stopped Di Maria contributing 14 goals already - a tremendous return.

His time in England will always be a source of frustration for him, but it's clear to most that Di Maria wasn't given the chance to show his best.

1 / 5 NEXT
Published 09 Feb 2018, 15:06 IST
Fetching more content...