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OPINION: Manchester United now have five world class players

Whatever one’s definition of ‘world-class’ is, Sir Alex Ferguson’s is inaccurate. Ferguson used his last book – another score-settler – to suggest Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo were the only world-class players he had at Manchester United.

The list of those who should have felt affronted was longer: Schmeichel, Keane, Beckham, Van Nistelrooy, Ferdinand, Van der Sar, Vidic, Evra, Van Persie et al. Fabien Barthez and Juan Sebastian Veron did not succeed at United but were recognised as world-class upon arrival. Cantona, catalyst and revolutionary though he was, seldom shone outside the British isles.

The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘world-class’ as ‘of a quality or standard regarded as high throughout the world’. In football parlance, that is too vague. The phrase is so subjective Ole Gunnar Solskjaer regarded Marcus Rashford as ‘world-class’ last year when few would agree.

Read about United’s world-class stars here.

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