Manchester United’s one nation wonders

Manchester United have had a plethora of talent and variety play for this historic football club.

This pool of players span from six of the seven continents of the world, only excluding Antarctica.

However, from this huge range of players, there are 25 of them whom are the only footballers from their country to represent United.

*In this list, the player must have played an official game for the senior team.

The 25 nations:

Tunisia: Hannibal Mejbri

With the youngster changing nationalities from France to Tunisia, the 20-year-old became the first Tunisian to play for the red devils.

Hannibal has been at United since 2019, having moved to Manchester from Monaco for £9.3m.

He’s made eight appearances for the senior side and a collective 58 games for United’s youth sides.

South Korea: Park Ji-Sung

A hero at Old Trafford.

Known as three lungs park, the South Korean midfielder had a footballing engine like no other.

Legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson famously said that he made a mistake in not putting the relentless midfielder on Lionel Messi just after half time in the 2011 Champions League final against Barcelona.

Ferguson said: “I should’ve changed it at half-time and put Ji-Sung Park on Messi. That was a mistake. I realised that after 10 minutes.

“I was going to do it at half-time, but we’d just equalised before half-time and I thought they might’ve seen the game differently.”

In his seven years at the club, Park made 204 appearances for United, scoring 20 goals and assisting 25.

Slovakia: Martin Dubravka

The 34-year-old goalkeeper joined United on September 1st 2022 as a loan signing to be a back up goalkeeper to David de Gea.

It was initially a one year deal but was cut short as he was recalled on New Years day by Newcastle United.

In his time at United, he made just two appearances, but both came crucially in the Carabao Cup.

This meant upon his arrival back in Newcastle, he was cup tied.

Consequently, when Newcastle’s first choice goalkeeper Nick Pope suffered an injury which ruled him out of the Carabao Cup final against United, this meant Dubravka couldn’t play and Newcastle were forced to use their third choice goalkeeper.

United subsequently won the final.

Iraq: Zidane Iqbal

The 20-year-old joined United’s academy aged just nine and gradually progressed through the ranks before making his official debut for the club, off the bench in the Champions League against Young Boys.

Iqbal became the first British South Asian in the club’s history.

Since then, Iqbal failed to make any further appearances despite impressing in United’s 2022 pre- season tour.

In July 2023, Iqbal was sold to FC Utrecht for around £850,000.

Poland: Tomasz Kuszczak

The Polish goalkeeper joined United initially on loan in 2006 from West Brom but his move was made permanent in 2007, just after the end of his loan.

Kuszcak made 61 appearances in his six years at the club earning 27 clean sheets.

Despite making several appearances, the 41-year-old failed to cement himself in the starting eleven ahead of Edwin van der Sar.

The arrival of David de Gea poised the end of Kuszczak’s time at the club, as in February 2012, the goalkeeper was loaned to Watford and the following summer released at the end of his contract.

Morocco: Sofyan Amrabat

The 27-year-old midfielder just this summer became the first Moroccan to play for the club after his loan arrival from Fiorentina.

Amrabat initially impressed in Morroco’s darkhorse run to the World Cup finishing fourth in the competition.

Amarabat was subsequently nominated for CAF men’s player of the year. (Confederation Africaine de Football)

So far at United, Amrabat has made nine appearances.

Bulgaria: Dimitar Berbatov

A first touch like no other.

From his wondergoal against Liverpool, to his team goal against Blackburn, the Bulgarian had it all.

He joined United on the 1st September 2008 from Tottenham for £30.75m.

Whilst at United, Berbatov made 149 appearances, scoring 56 goals and assisting 27.

He also won the Premier League golden boot in the 2010/11 season.

Angola: Manucho

The 40-year-old centre forward joined Ferguson’s side in December 2007.

However, Manucho only made three appearances for United equating to just 42 minutes of playing time.

He went on loan to both Panathinaikos and Hull City, before being sold to Real Valladolid in 2009.

Germany: Bastian Schweinsteiger

One of the greats of the game.

Schweinsteiger left Germany as a Bayern Munich legend having been at the club for 17 years from 1992.

In the summer of 2015 under Louis van Gaal’s leadership, the 31-year-old at the time, was brought to the ‘theatre of dreams.’

However, consistent injuries plagued his time in Manchester and subsequently meant that he played just 35 times in his two years at the club.

It’s still remarkable that he’s the only German to play for the club.

Mexico: Javier Hernandez

Known as Chicharito, the 35-year-old quickly became a fan favourite at Old Trafford.

A prime example of a player who knew the value of putting on that iconic red shirt and walking out in-front of 75,000 fans, each and every home game.

So much so that Hernandez said he’d play for free if United came calling.

He joined United in July 2010, scoring 13 goals and assisting two in 27 league games.

However, Chicharito was never able to make that necessary step up to become United’s sole number nine and was thus sent on loan to Real Madrid four years later.

He returned to United the following summer but was sold on to Bayer Leverkusen for £7.3m.

Ultimately, at United, Hernandez scored 59 goals and assisted 20 in 157 games.

South Africa: Quinton Fortune

Fortune joined United on the beginning of the millennium.

The central midfielder was at United for six years making 127 appearances scoring 10 goals and assisting six.

Montenegro: Nikola Jovanovic

Jovanovic is iconic for being the first person United signed outside of the British isles.

He joined the club in 1980 for a huge £300,000 at the time.

When discussing this move, Jovanovic said: “Bayern Munich offered me twice as much as United but I considered United to be one of the best teams in the world.”

However, Jovanovic never lived up to the big transfer fee and was loaned out to Montenegrin side Buducnost Podgorica after just a year. He signed for them permanently in 1982.

Jovanovic made just seven first division appearances and two UEFA Cup appearances in his time at the club.

Ecuador: Antonio Valencia

Signed as a winger, left as a fullback.

Valencia became an incredibly useful player for the club in his 10 years at United.

The Ecuadorian made 339 appearances for the red devils scoring 25 and assisting 62.

He’ll be fondly remembered for his exceptional volley against Everton.

Cape Verde: Bebe

Bebe joined United in 2010 for £7.4m upon the recommendation of former United assistant coach Carlos Queiroz.

Bebe had little professional footballing experience having grown up in an orphanage and representing Portugal in the homeless World Cup.

Queiroz later claimed he never made this recommendation and this signing was subject to an investigation into corruption with Bebe’s former agent Goncalo Reis claiming the player was improperly taken by Jorge Mendes who conducted the deal to United.

Ultimately, Bebe only made seven appearances for the first team in a huge failed transfer for Ferguson’s side.

Armenia: Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Mkhitaryan joined United in 2016 as one of Jose Mourinho’s first arrivals after becoming the new United manager after Van Gaal’s sacking.

He signed for £26.3m after impressing in Germany for Borussia Dortmund.

Just 63 appearances later, after falling out with Mourinho, Mkhitaryan was shipped off to Arsenal in what’s become known as one of or if not the worst swap deal of all time.

Chilean star Alexis Sanchez went the other way but fell massively below expectations whilst costing the club huge wages.

Russia: Andrei Kanchelskis

The Russian winger moved to Manchester in July 1991 from Shakhtar Donetsk.

In his four year stint at United, Kanchelskis made 161 appearances scoring 36 goals and assisting 14.

Nigeria: Odion Ighalo

With a lack of offensive options, Ighalo was signed as a deadline day gamble to provide cover.

Ighalo was a boyhood United fan and so was fulfilling his dream by making the move.

The former Watford striker instantly smashed all expectations scoring five goals from four starts.

His skilful volley in the Europa League will be remembered as a great United goal for years to come.

Trinidad and Tobago: Dwight Yorke

A treble hero.

Signed from Aston Villa in 1998 for £12m, Yorke became part of one of the most iconic striking duos, partnered with Andy Cole.

Yorke spent four years in Manchester before moving to Blackburn Rovers in 2002.

He scored 66 goals and assisted 32 in 152 games for United.

Japan: Shinji Kagawa

One of Ferguson’s last signings before his retirement, Kagawa joined United in July 2012 from Borussia Dortmund.

He had a small stature but was technically gifted.

He signed for United having scored 13 goals and assisting 12 in the Bundesliga, just the season prior, but failed to replicate his previous form, in the Premier League.

After two seasons and just 57 appearances, Kagawa returned to Dortmund permanently.

Gibraltar: Danny Higginbotham

Despite being born in Manchester, Higginbotham did in fact represent Gibraltar, (I’m as shocked as you.)

His career started in the United academy before in 1998, he was promoted to the first team.

However, Higginbotham was never able to nail down a place in the United squad and so was sent on loan to Royal Antwerp before he was later sold off to Derby County.

The Gibraltar defender played just seven times for United’s senior squad.

Gambia: Saidy Janko

Janko joined the United U21 squad in September 2013.

He featured 32 times for United’s youth, but only just once in a 45 minute cameo in the League Cup for the senior team.

He left the club in July 2015, moving to Celtic.

China: Fangzhuo Dong

Fangzhou was signed for United on January 1st 2004 from Chinese side Dalian Shide.

The 38-year-old struggled to gain a work permit and so was sent on loan to Royal Antwerp for two seasons before he eventually gained his work permit. However, he made just three appearances for the club after this, before leaving permanently in 2008 back to his former club.

Colombia: Radamel Falcao

Falcao joined United on loan in September 2014, set to create a dangerous attacking line-up with Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.

However, Falcao failed to shine as he once had at AS Monaco.

The Colombian striker scored just four goals and assisted five in his 29 appearances for the club.

He was subsequently not considered for any further purchase.

Senegal: Mame Biram Diouf

Diouf signed for United in July 2009 from Norwegian side Molde FK.

However, Diouf made just nine senior appearances for United, and was sent on a loan back to Molde and also to Blackburn Rovers.

In January 2012, the Senegalese striker was sold permanently to Hannover 96.

Austria: Marcel Sabitzer

The Austrian midfielder was signed as an emergency loan due to Christian Eriksen’s long term injury.

He featured for United 18 times scoring three goals and assisting one, before returning back to Bayern Munich last summer.