Once playing in the shadows of their neighbours, Manchester City have emerged as a world class team in the past decade. The egress of Sir Alex Ferguson and the arrival of Arab money into the blue side of Manchester have turned them into one of the most recognised and successful football clubs lately.

Here we look at the top five players who took the field for both Manchester City and Manchester United.

Carlos Tevez

Tevez was a pivotal part of the United squad under Sir Alex Ferguson during the latter half of the previous decade, lifting the Premier League and UEFA Champions League in his debut campaign. The Argentinian shared a remarkable bond on field with Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, scoring a plethora of goals during the 2007/08 season.

Tevez shocked the whole of Manchester by opting to sign for City after the expiration of his complex two-year loan deal at United. The Red Devils fans didn’t take this news well despite his performance at United. However, Tevez scored 73 goals in his four seasons at City, including an FA Cup and a Premier League title along the way.

Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel’s move to City was the biggest betrayal as per the philosophy of United fans. Club legend Gary Neville was the most upset when he heard about Schmeichel’s move to City in 2002. He was the core member of the Red Devils’ triumphant journey in the 1990s and the fact that United were unable to replace him with a goalkeeper of similar calibre for quite some time, hurt the fans.

The Danish international was the best keeper of his generation and arguably the greatest of all time.

Andy Cole

Andy Cole switched to Manchester United in January 1995 from Newcastle United. His goal-scoring form improved steadily, netting 12 goals in 18 league appearances in his first half-season at Old Trafford. However, a slight slowdown followed in the next couple of years, before Cole came roaring back in 1997/98.

It was in 2002 that Cole decided to join the Citizens. At the time of his departure from United, the striker had scored 121 goals for the Red Devils.

Owen Hargreaves

Owen Hargreaves signed for the Red Devils in 2007 for £17 million. His role was clearly defined in the 2007/08 campaign as Ferguson mostly deployed him on the right. He made 34 appearances in all competitions as United lifted the Premier League and the Champions League title.

But due to his consistent injuries at Old Trafford, Hargreaves managed just five outings in his final three seasons at the club. City came knocking with a deal with in 2011. His fitness wasn’t at its zenith, with the midfielder playing just once in the Premier League before retiring the following summer.

Denis Law

Denis Law was part of a memorable attacking trio alongside George Best and Bobby Charlton. Dubbed as the ‘Holy Trinity’ by the club’s fans in the 1960s, Law was an instant hit with the fans. Although he began his career with City, 237 goals in 404 games rank him as the Red Devils’ legend.

He is United’s third highest scorer of all time and took United to two league titles, an FA Cup and the 1968 European Cup under Matt Busby. He won six trophies in his time at United and picked up the Ballon d’Or in 1964 as part of Manchester United. 

He finally came back to City in 1973 at the end of his career, famously scoring against United on the day their relegation from the top flight was confirmed.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Lindsey Parnaby