Every Man Utd player to score 20+ in a season since Ronaldo left in 2009

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Cristiano Ronaldo (left) talks with Marcus Rashford (right) ahead of their match, Norwich, Carrow Road, 11 December 2021.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick against Norwich took him to 21 goals in all competitions for Manchester United in 2021-22, so we’ve had a look at every United player to reach the mark of 20 goals in all competitions in a single season since Ronaldo left for Real Madrid in 2009.

Ronaldo’s 20-goals season this term comes nearly 13 years on from when he played his last season for United in 2008-09 when he also scored over 20 goals.

In that campaign, he scored 26, a number he could potentially match in 2022 despite being 37 years old. Of course, that’s nothing compared to the 42 he scored in the Champions League-winning 2007-08 season.

Since Ronaldo last managed the feat in 2008-09, however, United forwards have often struggled to score goals. That’s particularly true in the post-Alex Ferguson era, with the club’s struggles after the departure of the legendary manager well publicised.

Just 10 individuals have managed to score 20 or more United goals in a single season since Ronaldo last did it, and now that includes the man himself.

Cristiano Ronaldo, 2021-22

His latest hat-trick was vintage Ronaldo in the twilight of his career; a tap-in, an outrageous header, and a ridiculous free-kick.

For all of the criticism, you simply can’t deny he still has a brilliant tendency to produce in the big moments.

Bruno Fernandes, 2020-21

“I am really happy to have these numbers and, obviously, it is not easy to get to this point with these numbers but I want to do better and better, more and more,” Fernandes said mid-way through his first full season at Manchester United.

“I want to finish the Premier League this season with more goals and assists than games. That would be good.”

He didn’t quite manage that, but his numbers were still extraordinary. He scored 28 in all competitions, with 17 assists to boot. His numbers aren’t close this season, but everyone at United has had a poorer campaign than expected.

Don’t be surprised if he’s nearer the 20 mark again in coming campaigns.

Marcus Rashford, 2019-20 and 2020-21

It’s no secret that Rashford’s had a poor 2021-22. In fact, very few players in history have had a poor season so heavily reported on.

But before this campaign, Rashford carried the club he loves on his back for two seasons in a row. He scored 22 and then 21 in 2019-20 and 2020-21 respectively, figures that players his age rarely come close to putting up.

He’ll be back, don’t you worry about that.

Manchester United forwards (l-r) Marcus Rashford, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo celebrate scoring goals

READ: How Rashford’s record after 200 PL games compares to Rooney & CR7

Anthony Martial, 2019-20

In 2019-20, Martial looked like he had finally become the complete, versatile forward United needed. Twetny-three goals and 12 assists were believed to be testament to United’s faith in him and Solskjaer’s dynamic attacking force.

Symbolically, he even scored United’s first hat-trick in the Premier League in the post-Ferguson period. Yes, it took Martial’s treble against Sheffield United in 2020 for United to score a hat-trick in the league without Ferguson in charge.

His performances over the past few seasons haven’t lived up to the promise he showed that campaign, however. The less said about his time in Sevilla the better.

Romelu Lukaku, 2017-18

Lukaku netted an impressive 27 times in his debut season, but the following campaign saw him fall off sharply.

He was sold in 2019 to Inter, where he had some less-than-good things to say about the Old Trafford club.

“A lot of people are playing bad [at Manchester United] but they have to find a culprit so if they want to put the blame on me, fuck it, do what you got to do,” Lukaku said in a podcast.

“For me, it was just shit. The team has so much potential to do great stuff. A lot of talent, but it’s not only talent, it’s about building a team.”

Back in England with Chelsea, it’s safe to say Lukaku is failing to impress once again.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 2016-17

It took four seasons, but the Swedish lion impersonator became the first player post-Fergie to score 20 goals in all competitions.

He bagged 27, or 28 if we count the Community Shield, which we might as well. He was a vital part of United’s most successful season in terms of trophies since Fergie as well, scoring a brace in the League Cup final.

The Swede left for LA Galaxy after being injured at the end of the campaign. “I came, I said, I conquered,” he bragged.

We aren’t going to be the ones who argue with him.

Robin van Persie, 2012-13

Van Persie’s 2012-13 is legendary. Thirty goals, 15 assists, one Premier League.

READ: Fergie’s farewell gift: Robin van Persie’s fairytale debut season at Man Utd

Wayne Rooney, 2009-10 and 2011-12

It’s not a surprise that Rooney, United’s highest ever goalscorer, is on this list.

In 2009-10 he stepped out of Ronaldo’s shadow, the Portuguese international having left for Real Madrid in the summer, and became Manchester United’s main man once more, a role he retained until he left the club.

He scored 34 times in 44 matches, but he went even better two seasons later when he scored the same number in one game fewer.

The only other player on this list to score 20 or more goals for United in a season on two occasions since 2009 is Rashford, a man Rooney desperately wants to see break his own record.

“To get the record and be Manchester United’s highest goal scorer, it is fucking massive. But I hope the record is broken,” he said.

“What I hope is that Marcus Rashford fucking gets his head out of his arse and goes and breaks that record. He’s a Manchester lad.”

Dimitar Berbatov, 2010-11

United fans have an enduring love for cult hero Berbatov.

The suave Bulgarian played football in one of the most casual manners ever, but no one was bothered about that when he bagged 21 goals in 2010-11, his best season at Old Trafford.

United paid £30million for him in 2008, a transfer that nearly went so differently.

“As I said before, I follow my own path and along the way of course there will be people who are disappointed in my decision, like the Spurs fans were when I decided to go and follow my dream,” he told The Athletic’s Manchester United podcast, Talk of the Devils.

“But then getting close to that dream, we get that call from City of course asking and giving their proposition to my agent. And he was looking at me like ‘What do you think?’.

“And I’m like ‘Just f*** off, we’re going to United.'”

Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov celebrates scoring against Wigan, Old Trafford, 26 December 2011

READ: When Berbatov scored five in a game for Man Utd, just because he could

Javier Hernandez, 2010-11

Chicharito, ‘the little pea’, was a hard-working, supremely talented and prolific goalscorer for United.

Alongside Berbatov, he fired United to the Premier League title in 2011 picking up the slack from Rooney and other squad members with 20 goals in all competitions.

The Mexican had a tendency to find himself in the right place at the right time, scoring a number of late winners and crucial goals in trademark comeback victories. It was a knack that few players have ever had, and saw him compared to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer more than a few times.

By Patrick Ryan

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