The 10 Top Goalscorers For Manchester United

Top Goalscorers For Manchester United: Over the years, the team’s iconic red jerseys have seen some incredible players scoring goals in various ways. From powerful kicks to strong headers, Manchester United’s history is filled with legendary goal-scoring moments.

Players like Sir Bobby Charlton and Denis Law, known for their incredible skills, paved the way for goal-scoring excellence. Then there’s Ruud van Nistelrooy, who was known for his precise and effective finishing. In more recent times, we have the modern-day legend, Cristiano Ronaldo, whose goal-scoring abilities have contributed significantly to United’s success.

Top Goalscorers For Manchester United

Now, let’s take a closer look at the top goal-scorers in the history of Manchester United. We’ll explore their playing styles, memorable moments, and the magic they brought to Old Trafford, the team’s home ground. Get ready for a journey through the impressive list of players who have made the Theatre of Dreams come alive with the artistry of scoring goals.

1. Wayne Rooney

  • Country: England
  • Career Span: 2004–2017

At number 10 on our list of the top goalscorers for Manchester United, we have Wayne Rooney. Rooney, who held the record for the most goals scored for Manchester United, served as the head coach of Derby County until the summer of 2022. From 2022 onward, he has been coaching the American MLS club DC United, where he used to be a player.

Image Source: Instagram

Rooney also had an impressive international career, playing 120 games for England and holding the record for the most goals (53) until 2023. He participated in three World and European Championships with the national team. Rooney, a versatile striker, made 559 appearances for Manchester United. Notably, he captained both the national team and all of his clubs at various times.

During his tenure at Manchester United, Rooney achieved significant success, winning five English championship titles, the National Super Cup, the League Cup four times each, the Europa League, and the FA Cup. His contributions on the field and leadership qualities made him a key figure in the team’s achievements.

CompetitionGoals (Matches)
League183 (393)
FA Cup22 (40)
League Cup5 (20)
Europe39 (98)
Other4 (8)
Total 253 (559)

2. Bobby Charlton

  • Country: England
  • Career Span: 1956–1973

Bobby Charlton holds the 2nd position among the “Top Goalscorers for Manchester United.” He gained fame not just for his attacking prowess as a midfielder but also for scoring impressive long-range goals.

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In 1966, Charlton achieved international glory by winning the FIFA World Cup with England and being named the European Footballer of the Year. He continued his success with another championship win in 1967 and captained the team to victory in the 1967/68 European Champion’s Cup, contributing two goals in the final. Charlton’s goal-scoring record for Manchester United was surpassed only by Wayne Rooney, and he held the record for the most competitive games played for the club until Ryan Giggs.

From 1970 to 2015, Charlton was the all-time leading scorer for the English national team, a record later equaled by Wayne Rooney. Widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time, Charlton left a lasting legacy. After his playing career, he briefly served as a player-coach at Preston North End and later contributed to the management of Manchester United from 1984, holding representative roles for decades.

CompetitionGoals (Matches)
League199 (606)
FA Cup19 (78)
League Cup7 (24)
Europe22 (45)
Other2 (5)
Total 249 (758)

3. Denis Law

  • Country: Scotland
  • Career Span: 1962–1973

Denis Law, holding the 3rd spot among Manchester United’s greatest goal-scorers, embarked on his football journey at Huddersfield Town in 1956 before making a significant move to Manchester City for a British record transfer fee of £55,000. His talent then took him to Italy with Torino, but he returned to England in 1962, signing with Manchester United for another record fee of £115,000. Over 11 memorable years with the club, Law scored an impressive 237 goals in 404 appearances, securing his place as the third-highest goal-scorer in the club’s history, behind Wayne Rooney and Bobby Charlton.

Top Goalscorers For Manchester United
Image Source: Man United

Nicknamed “The King” and “The Lawman,” Denis Law was a force to be reckoned with on the field, earning the prestigious Ballon d’Or in 1964. His contributions were instrumental in Manchester United’s First Division triumphs in 1965 and 1967, although he missed the 1968 European Cup final due to injury.

In 1973, Law briefly returned to Manchester City before concluding his illustrious career. His legacy includes joint-holding the Scottish international record goal tally with 30 goals and a United record for scoring 46 competitive goals in a single season. In 2023, Law became the last surviving member of the iconic “United Trinity” following Sir Bobby Charlton’s passing, solidifying his lasting impact on the club’s history.

CompetitionGoals (Matches)
League171 (309)
FA Cup34 (46)
League Cup3 (11)
Europe28 (33)
Other1 (5)
Total 237 (404)

4. Jack Rowley

  • Country: 1937–1955
  • Career Span: England

Securing the 4th position among Manchester United’s top goalscorers is Jack Rowley, a prolific forward who played during the 1930s to the 1950s. His lasting legacy is tied to a remarkable 17-year spell with Manchester United.

Top Goalscorers For Manchester United
Image Source: Man United

Known as “The Gunner” due to his explosive shooting and impressive goalscoring abilities, Rowley found the back of the net 211 times in 424 appearances for the club. Notably, his younger brother, Arthur Rowley, still holds the record for the highest number of career goals scored in the Football League, with an impressive total of 434 goals.

Jack Rowley’s contributions have etched his name into the rich history of Manchester United’s goal-scoring prowess.

CompetitionGoals (Matches)
League182 (380)
FA Cup26 (42)
League Cup0 (0)
Europe0 (0)
Other3 (2)
Total 211 (424)

5. Dennis Viollet

  • Country: England
  • Career Span: 1952–1962

Securing the 5th position among Manchester United’s top goalscorers is Dennis Viollet, a striker whose professional career began in 1950. Viollet made his debut on April 11, 1953, playing against Newcastle United. He achieved English championship victories with Manchester United in 1956 and 1957.

Top Goalscorers For Manchester United
Image Source: Man United

Notably, Viollet was one of the survivors of the tragic plane accident in Munich on February 6, 1958, which claimed the lives of 23 people, including eight of his teammates. During his time at Manchester United, he played 291 matches and scored an impressive 178 goals. Viollet also made two appearances for the English national team, participating in games against Hungary and Luxembourg.

In a surprising turn in 1962, he was sold to Stoke City by manager Matt Busby. Playing alongside the legendary Stanley Matthews, Viollet made 207 appearances for Stoke City and scored 66 goals. After five years, he retired prematurely but made a one-year comeback in the top American league with the Baltimore Bays in 1967. Viollet later played briefly for Witton Albion before concluding his playing career at FC Linfield in Northern Ireland. As a player-coach, he contributed to Linfield’s victory in the Northern Irish Cup in 1970. Dennis Viollet’s journey left an indelible mark on the history of Manchester United and beyond.

CompetitionGoals (Matches)
League159 (259)
FA Cup5 (18)
League Cup1 (2)
Europe13 (12)
Other1 (2)
Total179 (293)

6. George Best

  • Country: Northern Ireland
  • Career Span: 1963–1974

At 6th position among Manchester United’s top goalscorers is George Best, renowned for his remarkable career with the club. Best, known for his exceptional skill with both feet, showcased the qualities of a winger with high speed and agility, coupled with a potent goal threat. In 1968, he had a standout year, winning the European Cup with Manchester United and being honored with the Ballon d’Or as “Europe’s Footballer of the Year.” Despite his significant contributions to the Northern Ireland national team, he never led his country to a Football World Cup final.

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Best’s talent earned him recognition globally, with Pelé including him among the world’s top 125 footballers. However, his popularity extended beyond the field, as he became one of the first football players to attain media star status. Despite his football prowess, Best’s extravagant lifestyle led to struggles with alcoholism, negatively impacting his career and contributing to his early death at the age of 59.

His funeral, attended by 100,000 people in Belfast, reflected the deep affection and popularity he held, even as his public struggles highlighted a darker side.

CompetitionGoals (Matches)
League137 (361)
FA Cup21 (46)
League Cup9 (25)
Europe11 (34)
Other1 (4)
Total179 (470)

7. Joe Spence

  • Country: England
  • Career Span: 1919–1933

Joe Spence is seventh on the list of all-time top goalscorers for the club. He joined the team in 1919, right after the First World War, and his first game was against Derby County on August 30, 1919.

Top Goalscorers For Manchester United
Image Source: Man United

During his time at Manchester United, Joe Spence scored 168 goals and played in 510 matches, setting club records that lasted until 1952 when Jack Rowley surpassed his goal-scoring record. His appearances record stood until November 1964, when Bill Foulkes broke it.

Joe Spence was considered one of United’s standout players between the wars, and fans often chanted “Give it to Joe” during his 14-year tenure at Old Trafford. In his first season, he scored 14 goals in 32 First Division games. His best season was 1927-28, where he scored 24 goals, with 22 in the league and two in the FA Cup. Despite his contributions, Manchester United faced relegation to the Second Division twice during his time with the club.

CompetitionGoals (Matches)
League158 (481)
FA Cup10 (29)
League Cup0 (0)
Europe0 (0)
Other0 (0)
Total168 (510)

8. Ryan Giggs

  • Country: Wales
  • Career Span: 1991–2014

Ryan Giggs is the 8th highest goal scorer for Manchester United. He played for the club since 1991, mainly as a left winger. During his time with Manchester United, Giggs won a total of 36 club titles, making him one of the most successful players in the team’s history. This includes 13 English championships, four FA Cup trophies, and four League Cups. He also played a key role in winning the Champions League in 1999 and 2008.

Image Source: Instagram

In May 2008, Giggs broke Bobby Charlton’s record for the most competitive games played for Manchester United, reaching a total of 963 games. From May 11, 2011, to September 25, 2017, he held the record for the most Premier League appearances with 632 matches. In September 2017, Gareth Barry surpassed this record.

Giggs received several personal honors throughout his career, including being named the best young footballer twice at the beginning of his career. He was also awarded England’s Footballer of the Year and Sportsman of the Year in Great Britain in 2009, one of the most prestigious awards in British sport. Additionally, he held the record for the most appearances in the Champions League from October 2, 2013, to December 10, 2014.

CompetitionGoals (Matches)
League114 (672)
FA Cup12 (74)
League Cup12 (41)
Europe29 (157)
Other1 (19)
Total168 (963)

9. Mark Hughes

  • Country: Wales
  • Career Span: 1983–1986, 1988–1995

Mark Hughes is the 9th highest goal scorer for Manchester United. He is best known for his time with the club, winning two English championships in 1993. While he had brief stints with FC Barcelona and FC Bayern Munich, he also had successful spells with FC Chelsea.

Top Goalscorers For Manchester United
Image Source: Man United

Hughes played for several other clubs, including FC Southampton, Queens Park Rangers, FC Fulham, Manchester City, and Blackburn Rovers. After retiring from playing, Hughes transitioned to coaching. He managed the Welsh national team from 1999 to 2004. As a player, he scored 16 goals for Wales in 72 international matches.

Hughes also achieved success with Manchester United in various competitions, including winning the 1991-1992 European Cup Winners’ Cup, as well as FA Cup trophies in 1994 and 1985.

CompetitionGoals (Matches)
League120 (345)
FA Cup17 (46)
League Cup16 (38)
Europe9 (33)
Other1 (5)
Total163 (467)

10. Paul Scholes

  • Country: England
  • Career Span: 1994–2011, 2012–2013

Paul Scholes holds the 10th position among the top goal scorers for Manchester United. He dedicated his entire playing career to the club, making over 700 appearances and ranking third in all-time appearances for Manchester United.

Image Source: Instagram

Scholes, a midfielder, started his career with Manchester United in 1991 and was part of the professional squad from 1994 to 2011. Although he initially retired on May 31, 2011, he made a comeback on January 8, 2012, in the FA Cup. Throughout his career, he scored 14 goals in 66 international matches for the English national team, participating in two World Cup (1998, 2002) and two European Championship finals (2000, 2004).

Known for his exceptional technical skills, agility, and passing accuracy, Scholes was regarded as one of the best players in the Premier League during his time. Despite his physical style of play, he received numerous warnings. Off the field, Scholes was known for his reserved and modest personality. Teammates and coaches often praised his exemplary and professional attitude towards his career. He eventually retired at the end of the 2012-2013 season.

CompetitionGoals (Matches)
League107 (499)
FA Cup13 (49)
League Cup9 (21)
Europe26 (134)
Other0 (15)
Total 155 (718)

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