Man Utd European finals XI: Charlton, Kidd, Ronaldo, Neville and Stepney all make it into all-time greatest team

MANCHESTER UNITED take on Villarreal in the Europa League final on Wednesday night aiming to win their second title in the second tier of European football.

Luke Shaw will incredibly play in his first-ever cup final after missing the 2017 Europa League final win over Ajax through injury.

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But he will almost certainly start for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the 2020-21 squad aim to write their names in the record books.

Ahead of the game, we've taken a look at the Man Utd's best XI based on cup finals.

Ander Herrera was Man of the Match in the 2017 Europa League final, while the likes of Bryan Robson, Paul Scholes, Peter Schmeichel, Teddy Sheringham and Solskjaer have all shone in iconic European showdowns.

But there's no room for any of them in the star-studded squad… check out who makes the cut, below…

GK – Alex Stepney

SCHMEICHEL was well in the race to take the starting spot after helping United clinch the famous Treble in the Champions League win over Bayern Munich in 1999.

But Stepney takes the place thanks to his heroics in the 1968 European Cup final.

Taking on Benfica, the score was 1-1 with just minutes left on the clock.

Stepney's sensational close-range save from Eusebio kept United in it, with the Portuguese icon even stopping to applaud the one-cap England ace.

United would go on to win 4-1 after extra-time, becoming the first English side to win Europe's top competition.

RB – Gary Neville

PRECIOUS few Man Utd players have won the Champions League twice.

But Neville got his hands on Old Big Ears in 1999 and 2008 – beating Bayern and Chelsea respectively.

Neville failed to play in the 2008 showpiece, with Wes Brown taking his spot.

But Nev – then club captain – was still able to lift the trophy along with Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand.

CB – Rio Ferdinand

SPEAKING of Ferdinand, the ex-England ace makes it into our XI for captaining United to victory over a strong Chelsea team in 2008.

While not a vintage display, the defender helped keep Chelsea's attacking stars such as Didier Drogba, Joe Cole, Florent Malouda, Michael Ballack and Frank Lampard at bay.

He later lifted the Champions League trophy after John Terry and Nicolas Anelka missed their penalties having won the all-important coin toss to have the shootout at the United end.

CB – Nemanja Vidic

VIDIC stood firm throughout the game to keep Chelsea at arms length and take the game to penalties.

However, he unwittingly played a huge role in the game after he was slapped by Drogba in extra-time, which saw the Ivorian sent-off.

With Drogba off the pitch and unable to take a spot-kick in the shootout, Chelsea came up just short.

LB – Denis Irwin

ONE of the most underrated players in United history, Irwin started at left-back for the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

The seven-time Premier League winner also started at right-back in both the 1990-91 Cup Winners' Cup victory over Barcelona and the 1991 Super Cup win over Red Star Belgrade.

Irwin ultimately left United with THREE European medals in his trophy cabinet.


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RM – George Best

THANKS to Stepney's heroics in goal, United took Benfica to extra time in the 1968 European Cup final.

And Northern Ireland icon Best scored in just the second minute of the additional half an hour to put United back in front.

Stepney punted the ball up pitch, Brian Kidd flicked the ball on and best beat his defenders AND the goalkeeper before poking into an empty net to send the Red Devils wild.

Best was also named European Footballer of the year in 1968.

CM – Bobby Charlton

AND after Best's heroics, Charlton well and truly killed the 1968 European Cup final off.

The 1966 World Cup winner scored TWICE in the game – once in normal time and once in extra-time.

Charlton's headed effort put United in front after 53 minutes, before grabbing his side's fourth after 99 minutes.

LM – Ryan Giggs

LIKE Neville, Giggs is another two-time Champions League winner for United.

The Welsh winger started the iconic 2-1 win over Bayern in 1999 and his scuffed shot fell to the feet of Sheringham to poke home an injury-time equaliser in Munich.

Giggs also came off the bench late in the 2008 win over Chelsea, playing the final three minutes of normal time, all of extra-time and even converted United's crucial, sixth penalty.

His sudden death conversion ultimately led to United's win, as Anelka saw his effort saved by Edwin van der Sar.

Giggs also came off the bench in United's 1991 Super Cup win over Red Star Belgrade – his first-ever senior trophy.

ST – Mark Hughes

THE Wales forward never won the Champions League or European Cup.

But he did get his hands on TWO European trophies in quick succession – the Cup Winners' Cup and Super Cup in 1991.

In fact, Hughes scored both goals in the famous 2-1 Cup Winners' Cup victory over Barcelona.

ST – Brian Kidd

KIDD started the 1968 Champions League final on his 19th birthday, lining up alongside the likes of Best and Charlton.

His flick teed up Best to go on his mazy run and give United a 2-1 lead in extra-time, before he made it 3-1 himself after heading in a rebounded effort from David Sadler.

Kidd wrote his name in Old Trafford folklore with the win – both United AND any English team's first European Cup crown.

ST – Cristiano Ronaldo

RONALDO started and opened the scoring in the 2008 Champions League final win over Chelsea.

Showing off his typically unparalleled athleticism, Ronaldo rose highest to nod home a pinpoint cross from Brown.

He may have missed his penalty in the shootout, but was given a reprieve after Terry's slip and Anelka's thwarted effort as United won their third European Cup crown.

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