8 Manchester United Players Who Have Won the World Cup

Scott Rom@@R_o_MFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2014

8 Manchester United Players Who Have Won the World Cup

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    Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

    With the World Cup less than two weeks away, there are several Manchester United players who will be representing their country in Brazil.

    Whilst there are a few who stand a fairly good chance, you would imagine that Juan Mata and David de Gea are the players with the most realistic aspirations of winning the World Cup.

    However, if they do, they will join an elite group of players who have also played for United and won the trophy.

    Who are they?

Sir Bobby Charlton: 1966

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    Sir Bobby Charlton won the World Cup with England in 1966. They finished top of their group in the first round after beating Mexico and France, as well as drawing with Uruguay.

    Charlton scored a fantastic goal in front of over 92,000 fans at Wembley in the 2-0 victory over Mexico.

    England went on to beat Argentina 1-0 in the quarter-finals, before facing Portugal in the semis. Charlton scored both goals in a 2-1 win over Portugal to book their place in the final.

    The final against West Germany finished 2-2 after normal time. Charlton hit the woodwork in extra time, before England scored a further two goals to claim the trophy.

Nobby Stiles: 1966

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    Associated Press

    Nobby Stiles played in the same victorious England team as Charlton, positioned just behind him on the pitch.

    Stiles played in every minute of England's World Cup campaign that year and his celebration after the final, dancing on the Wembley pitch with the trophy in his hand, is one of the most iconic images from this tournament.

    Stiles' highlight that year was almost certainly his performance in the semi-final when he was faced with the task of marking Eusebio, who was officially the best player in Europe at the time. Eusebio was incredibly ineffectual which enabled England to progress to the final.

John Connelly: 1966

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    Associated Press

    John Connelly played in England's opening game of the 1966 World Cup in their 0-0 draw with Uruguay. After a disappointing performance from the team, Alf Ramsey decided to change his tactics and play without wingers.

    Connelly didn't play in any further games and the match against Uruguay proved to be his last ever for his country.

    As he didn't play in the final, he wasn't awarded a medal for his contribution to England's success. However, he later received a medal at 10 Downing Street as a recognition for the part he played in the squad.

Fabien Barthez: 1998

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    MICHEL EULER/Associated Press

    France finished top of their group after winning all three games after beating Denmark, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

    During the group stage, Barthez conceded just one goal, which was a Danish penalty in France's 2-1 win.

    It was the semi-finals before Barthez let in another goal, after beating Paraguay 1-0 in the Round of 16 and Italy in the quarter-finals on penalties, after the game finished 0-0. France beat Croatia 2-1 in the semis with Davor Suker, who finished the top scorer, bagging the second and final goal against Barthez in the tournament.

    France went on to beat holders Brazil 3-0 in the final, with Barthez having a great game and denying Ronaldo any goals.

    It is not surprising that Barthez was given the Yashin Award for being the best goalkeeper at the World Cup that year.

Laurent Blanc: 1998

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    MICHEL EULER/Associated Press

    Laurent Blanc was in the same World Cup winning side as Barthez, although missed the final through suspension.

    Whilst Barthez received plenty of credit for the clean-sheets that France kept during the 1998 World Cup, which was a record for the tournament at the time, it is worth noting that Blanc played a considerable role in this achievement.

    It wasn't just defensively where Blanc thrived though. He scored the first ever Golden Goal in World Cup history to beat Paraguay in the Round of 16, before scoring the winning penalty against Italy in the quarter-finals.

    Blanc was given the first and, what would turn out to be, only red card of his career in the semi-finals for elbowing Slaven Bilic. However, replays showed that the Croat had feigned injury and the decision to send Blanc off was incorrect.

    One of the iconic images for this tournament was Blanc superstitiously kissing Barthez's bald head ahead of every game for luck.  

Kleberson: 2002

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    KOJI SASAHARA/Associated Press

    Kleberson has long been hailed as one of Sir Alex Ferguson's huge transfer errors after he failed to adjust to life in the Premier League. However, at the time, the £6 million paid for the Brazilian should have been a bargain.

    Kleberson was on the bench for Brazil's first four games but was brought in to the starting line-up for their quarter-final match against England. After England took the lead, it was Kleberson's tackle on Paul Scholes which lead to Rivaldo's equalising goal.

    Kleberson then started in Brazil's 1-0 victory over Turkey in the semi-final before starting in the World Cup final against Germany. He assisted Brazil's second goal in a 2-0 win after going on a great run down the right wing.

Gerard Pique: 2010

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    Gerard Pique started in all seven of Spain's World Cup games in 2010 as they went on to equal France's record of 1998, conceding just two goals.

    Spain finished top of their group after beating Honduras and Chile, but lost 1-0 against Switzerland.

    In the Round of 16 they beat Portugal 1-0 before beating Paraguay 1-0 in the quarter-final. Another 1-0 win over in the semi-final over Germany booked their place in the final against the Netherlands, which they won 1-0 after extra time.

Juan Mata: 2010

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    After scoring twice during qualifying, Juan Mata only appeared in one of the 2010 World Cup games, when he replaced Fernando Torres in 2-0 group stage win over Honduras.


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