Comparing the nine foreign players to score 50 goals for Manchester United

Quick Reads

When Anthony Martial scored for Manchester United at Molineux, he joined an exclusive club.

The Frenchman’s first-half goal was his 50th for the club since joining in 2015: 36 in the league, eight in domestic cups and six in Europe.

He is only the ninth foreign player to reach the milestone for United – not too shabby, considering there were many moments when we didn’t expect him to be at Old Trafford nearly this long. Here’s how he compares to the others from outside the UK and Ireland to hit 50.

Cristiano Ronaldo (188 games)

Baring in mind his ridiculous efficiency at Real Madrid, it’s easy to forget Ronaldo took a while to become a prolific goalscorer in a United shirt.

The Portuguese took four full seasons to reach 50 goals for the club, but he at least made it an important one, netting the only goal of the game in the Manchester Derby to all-but seal the 2006-07 Premier League title.

It took Ronaldo 188 games to score his first 50 United goals, but his next 50 arrived in just 65 outings.

Anthony Martial (176 games)

Martial rounds off the list, four years after sealing victory over Liverpool on his United debut.

The Frenchman has yet to top the 17-goal tally of that first season, having often been forced out wide to accommodate others.

It’s fitting that goal number 50 came with Martial back in the No.9 shirt, after he had previously given it up for players preferred by José Mourinho, and a record of 50 in 176 isn’t too shabby for someone with a relatively stop-start United career.

Dimitar Berbatov (141 games)

Berbatov ended up with 48 league goals for United – exactly the same number as Van Persie – but took until his fourth season with the club to bring up 50 in all competitions.

The former Tottenham man didn’t feature much in the 2011-12 campaign, starting only 11 games (and only six in the Premier League), but it was enough time to take his tally above 50.

He reached that mark in his 141st United game, backheeling home to put the gloss on a 5-0 victory away at Fulham.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær (120 games)

Solskjær might have started a smaller proportion of his games than Van Nistelrooy, but he still came closer than any other foreign player to matching the Dutchman’s United tally.

The most memorable goal of the Norwegian’s career came in the 1999 Champions League final, and he brought up the big five-o just a few months later.

It came in the same competition, too, with an effort against Sturm Graz to ensure United topped their group. That made it 50 in 120 games for the baby-faced assassin, and he would end his time at Old Trafford with 126 goals.

Javier Hernández (117 games)

Just like Solskjær, Hernández developed a knack for scoring from the bench to the point that fewer than half of his Premier League games for United were starts.

The Mexican scored exactly 50 goals in his first three seasons, with the last of those strikes coming in Ferguson’s final game in charge, a 5-5 draw with West Bromwich Albion.

He took 117 games to score his first 50 for United but only added nine more under David Moyes – and none in his handful of games under Louis van Gaal – before departing in 2015.

Eric Cantona (104 games)

Cantona crammed a fair bit into his United stint, and he had already won two Premier League titles when he brought up his half-century.

Goal number 50 came shortly after his return from a lengthy ban for kung-fu kicking a Crystal Palace fan, an equaliser from the penalty spot against Nottingham Forest after the Frenchman had been felled by Steve Chettle.

He took 104 games to reach 50 goals, and ended his United career (and his career full stop) with 82 in 182 for the Red Devils.

Dwight Yorke (95 games)

We already knew Yorke was a great goalscorer before he moved to Old Trafford – three straight double-figure goalscoring seasons for Aston Villa were proof of that – but he stepped things up for United.

After helping Alex Ferguson’s team to Champions League glory in his first season, the Trinidad & Tobago international scored his 50th goal for the club towards the end of his second as part of a double in a 3-2 victory over Chelsea.

Yorke took 95 games to score 50 United goals but slowed after that to end with 66 in 152 appearances.

Robin van Persie (81 games)

Van Persie didn’t score as many for United as those above him on this list, but he reached 50 goals in double-quick time.

The Dutchman had scored 30 in his final Arsenal season and at one point looked on track to match that for his new club but would ultimately be hindered by injuries and managerial changes en route to a total of 58 from 105 which probably should have been higher.

Goal number 50 came under Louis van Gaal, the clincher in a 2-1 victory over West Ham United in September 2014. It was his 81st game in United red.

Ruud van Nistelrooy (67 games)

The highest overall scorer of the nine, Van Nistelrooy wasted no time opening his United account, scoring twice against Fulham on his Premier League debut.

After ending his first season for the club with 36 goals, he brought up his half-century against Newcastle United in November of his second campaign – his 67th game in a United shirt.

That goal was part of a hat-trick in a 5-3 league victory, and he would later bring up the 150-goal milestone against Bolton Wanderers in his final season in England.

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