Manchester United :: Chasing Championships
Last year, Manchester United took home an extremely rare championship triple, this year they are still trying to defend their most prestigious titles.
Manchester United[/KWLINK], the world’s most famous soccer club, and arguably the world’s most successful sports brand, have built one of the finest teams in history. Last year, led by their swashbuckling stars, the Red Devils captured the Premier League championship, the Football Association (FA) Cup and the top European club team trophy as kings of the Champions League. This year they are in the unprecedented position to repeat as Premier League champs and defend their Champions League title at the same time.
Their pursuit of two of the most difficult and most coveted titles in all of soccer make them the most compelling defending champions in any sport. Manchester United has great players all over the pitch and enlists only the finest international talent to wear its signature red uniforms.
The roll call of greats starts in goal where the veteran Dutchman Edwin van der Sar has backstopped the Devils since the 2005-2006 season. The 38-year-old goalie is still considered among the best in the world and this year was the key part of a stunning United run of 15 consecutive shutouts in league play.
The Man U defense is anchored by centre-back Nemanja Vidic, who signed with United shortly after being part of the Serbian and Montenegrin national team's "Famous Four" defense, that allowed just one goal during the 2006 World Cup qualifying rounds, setting a new record for fewest goals conceded in that competition.
In the midfield United have veterans like Welshman Ryan Giggs and Englishman Paul Scholes, and new stars like Scotsman Darren Fletcher, young Portuguese national Nani and Brazialian speedster Anderson.
But it is up front where United make it almost impossible to exaggerate the level of their talent. In Wayne Rooney, United have perhaps the premier striker in all of world football. The hard-nosed Englishman has been pumping in important goals at Old Trafford for over 5 years, and he is still only 23-years-old.
Rooney is helped along in his pursuit of goals by the incomparable winger Cristiano Ronaldo, who is generally considered the best player in the world. The Portuguese national is capable of turning any game with the thunder of either foot, as evidenced by his stunning 40-yard strike against FC Porto that launched the Red Devils into the Champions League Semifinals.
With a lead in the Premier league, and a semi-final looming against longtime rivals Arsenal, Manchester United and their iconic manager Sir Alex Ferguson, seem poised to add another championship banner (or two) to their illustrious history.