Manchester United rarely see players shine after leaving Old Trafford, something they’re well aware of. But the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria and Gerard Pique are all exceptions the rule, with the trio shining in the years since departing.
Pique was highly-rated by United but, after playing second fiddle to the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, left for Barcelona in the summer of 2008.
The Spain international has since won every trophy available, including the World Cup in 2010 and European Championships in 2012.
Ronaldo was sold by United to Real Madrid in 2009, 12 months after the Portugal international had first hoped to move to the Bernabeu.
And Di Maria has impressed at PSG ever since Louis van Gaal offloaded him to the Ligue 1 giants in the summer of 2015.
Express Sport now takes a look at how United would line up today had they been able to keep the trio at Old Trafford.
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United’s defence has done well this season, with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof striking up a strong partnership at the back.
But Pique would still likely get into the side – at Lindelof’s expense.
The Barcelona star has been a vital part of their success over the last 12 years, helping turn them into La Liga’s dominant force.
Pique left United because he knew he was good enough to be playing regularly.
And the Red Devils’ loss has been Barcelona’s gain, with Pique regarded as a club legend and potential future president.
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How United must wish they’d kept Ronaldo for longer.
He’d won the lot when he upped and left in 2009, joining Real Madrid to fulfil his ambition of playing at the Bernabeu.
At the time, eyebrows were raised at Los Blancos’ decision to pay £80million for the Portugal international.
But Ronaldo became a Real Madrid icon and is now terrorising defences with Juventus in Serie A.
If he were to still be at United he’d likely be a centre-forward, with Marcus Rashford on the right.
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Angel Di Maria
United made quite the statement when they signed Di Maria from Real Madrid in 2014.
Having failed to qualify for the Champions League it was a sign that the club were still attractive enough to sign the best players on the planet.
But Di Maria lasted just 12 months at the club before being sold to PSG in the summer of 2015.
If he had remained, he’d likely be playing on the left of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s attack.
And that would mean him, Ronaldo and Rashford spearheading the side.
Man Utd XI in full: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Pique, Shaw, Pogba, Matic, Di Maria, Fernandes, Rashford, Ronaldo
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