Juan Mata names his top five all-time Manchester United players

Mata Chelsea Free Kick

Juan Mata endured the tough task of picking his five favourite United players ever - but who did he choose?

Given the task of naming his top five all-time Manchester United stars, Juan Mata failed to disappoint. Speaking to the official club website, the Spanish midfielder named his favourite Red Devils from over the years. 

"I could speak about 20 players, not just five, because in this club's history there have always been top players," he said. "I'm naming five players I think are great..."

Naturally, Mata opted for the club's household names, with Ryan Giggs being an obvious choice. The Welshman enjoyed 963 competitive appearances for the Red Devils, before hanging up his boots at the end of last season. 

Speaking of the club legend, Mata said, "He has played more games than anyone else for the club. He has been very important to this club as a player and assistant manager. His beautiful left foot will always be remembered."

The Spaniard was equally impressed with former England midfielder Paul Scholes. "He was one of the first midfielders I ever saw. He was with us last season, I was training with him and I was really impressed by his touch. His shooting and assists for his team-mates... he was an unbelievable player."

He also reserved praise for Cristiano Ronaldo, who won the Champions League with the club, before completing a then-record-breaking move to La Liga giants Real Madrid. "When he was here he was very important for the club and the club was very important for him. He scored a lot of goals and he was the Player of the Season, so he has to be in my top five."

And Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy is another favourite of the United no.8. Speaking of the current Netherlands assistant manager, he said, "When I was younger I used to remember him scoring lots of goals and celebrating in front of the crowd at Old Trafford. He was a very good player and one of the best strikers I've ever seen." 

His responses produced few surprises, although he did cheat slightly when opting for both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic as his fifth selection, both of whom he played alongside throughout the second half of last season.

"Rio (Ferdinand) and Vida (Nemanja Vidic) were two of the best central defenders in the Premier League; very strong and they complimented each other very well. They were key players in winning trophies."

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch