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.
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 managed to score a whopping 50 goals throughout 2023, a number higher than most of his world-class contemporaries.
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 proving to be a fierce competitor for Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Blind has played 18 times in La Liga this season and will play a crucial role if Girona are to achieve a miracle.
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 been reunited with Mourinho at Roma and already has 12 goals in 19 matches this year.
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) December 16, 2023
Since leaving United last summer, Fred has played 18 matches for Fenerbahce. He’s won all 18. Some United fans are only just realising what they had…
Angel Di Maria
Di Maria eschewed moves to Saudi Arabia or the MLS in favour of a romantic return to Benfica last summer.
He’s been living his best life in Portugal, including a ridiculous Olimpico against Salzburg in the Champions League.
If this is the last Champions League game Angel Di Maria ever plays, then scoring an Olimpico is certainly not a bad way to go out. pic.twitter.com/NpC1B5FCrd
— Zach Lowy (@ZachLowy) December 16, 2023
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 seven goals and four assists in 20 appearances as the club look to make an instant return to the top flight.
Young has been around for what feels like a lifetime – he made his professional debut in September 2003 when ‘Where is the Love’ by Black Eyed Peas was top of the charts – and is still going strong today.
After spending eight-and-a-half years at United, Young won a Serie A title with Inter and is now part of Sean Dyche’s upwardly mobile Everton side.
He might have been given the round around by Alejandro Garnacho last month, but the 38-year-old Young is still enjoying far more than most United players this season.