Marcel Sabitzer celebrates reaching the Champions League semi-finals.

7 former Man Utd players who are currently thriving away from Old Trafford

Manchester United are enduring another inconsistent season, but a handful of their former players are currently enjoying themselves far more in 2023-24.

As Erik ten Hag’s team stumble from one match to the next, players that didn’t thrive at Old Trafford are having a much better time of it.

We’ve identified seven former United stars who are currently loving life since leaving the club.

Cristiano Ronaldo

After his acrimonious departure from Old Trafford in 2022, many saw Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nassr as a legendary player choosing to wind down his career in a retirement league.

But the Portuguese forward has scored an incredible 42 goals in 43 games this season – and we wouldn’t bet against him top scoring at Euro 2024 either.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates lifting the FA Cup, European Championships and Champions League trophies, pictured (L-R) with Manchester United, Portugal and Real Madrid

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Daley Blind

After playing under Van Gaal at international level for the Netherlands, Blind reunited with the manager at Old Trafford in 2014.

The versatile defender won the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League at United but slipped down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho.

After stints with Ajax and Bayern Munich, Blind must be loving life at Girona right now – the Spanish club are currently enjoying a sensational season and are on course to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Blind has played 27 times in La Liga this season and will play a crucial role if Girona are to achieve a miracle.

Romelu Lukaku

Jose Mourinho spent an initial £75million to bring Lukaku to United in 2017, where he scored 27 goals in all competitions in his first season before tailing off and being flogged to Inter Milan.

His career since then has had a bit of everything, from goal-scoring greatness with Inter to a nightmare return to Chelsea, but he’s since moved to Roma and already has 18 goals in 40 matches this year – including two against Brighton in the Europa League.

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Since leaving United in 2023, Fred has played 26 matches for Fenerbahce as they’ve streaked to the top of the Turkish league. Some United fans feel it was a mistake to let the combative midfielder leave so cheaply.

Angel Di Maria

Di Maria eschewed moves to Saudi Arabia or the MLS in favour of a romantic return to Benfica last in 2023.

He’s been living his best life in Portugal, including a ridiculous Olimpico against Salzburg in the Champions League.

Marcel Sabitzer

Sabitzer was a semi-success at Old Trafford; arriving on loan in January 2023, the midfielder scored three times in 18 appearances and looked classy on the ball, but was an emblem of a club attempting to achieve success on the cheap.

The Austria international joined Borussia Dortmund after his spell at United was over and scored a crucial goal in their Champions League quarter-final win over Atletico Madrid.

Meanwhile United are playing to avoid the Europa Conference League. Some life.

Daniel James

It’s August 2019: Brexit is dominating the headlines, Sky Sports News are countdown-clocking Bury’s demise and Dan James is United’s best player.

The Wales international made an instant impact after joining from Swansea, but became increasingly marginalised by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as it became apparent he wasn’t quite United standard.

James joined Leeds in 2021 and is blossoming in the Championship this season – the winger has 13 goals and six assists in 39 appearances as the club look to make an instant return to the top flight. We’ll gloss over his missed penalty against Poland.