Manchester United meet AC Milan in the Europa League’s last 16 this week, a fascinating clash between two of European football’s most successful teams as each seek a return to former glories.
Both sides have a storied history in continental competition, and the winner of their tie will be amongst the favourites to win this season’s Europa League and add further European silverware to the collection.
Ahead of the clash we’ve looked back at the players to have adorned the colours of both clubs, here are the nine players to play for both Manchester United and AC Milan:
Joe Jordan spent much of the seventies and eighties as a nightmare presence for opposition backlines, a forward who mixed aerial ability and athleticism with a ferocious will-to-win and competitive edge.
Jordan spent seven seasons with Leeds and won the First Division title during his time at Elland Road, before making a cross-Pennines switch to Manchester United to lead the line as the Red Devils’ number nine.
The Scotland international spent four seasons with the club and formed part of the side beaten in the 1979 FA Cup final, before fulfilling a long-held ambition to move abroad by signing for Milan.
Jordan scored 19 goals in 61 appearances for the Italian side before a switch to Verona, later finishing his career with Southampton and Bristol City before moving into coaching.
He remains the only Scottish player in history to have scored in three World Cups, netting in the 1974, 1978 and 1982 editions of the tournament during an international career that yielded 52 caps.
Ray Wilkins proved a popular figure at a succession of clubs throughout his career, enjoying memorable spells at Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers and Rangers in addition to stints in both Milan and Manchester.
He signed for Manchester United in an £825,000 deal after impressing at boyhood side Chelsea, making 194 appearances across five seasons and winning the FA Cup in 1983 – scoring a goal from distance in the final draw against Brighton before the Red Devils emerged victorious following a replay.
Wilkins brought a fine footballing intelligence and passing range and spent three seasons in Milan, and whilst silverware proved elusive in a transitional side he remains a fondly remembered name from his time at the San Siro.
Wilkins was a reliable member of a side which laid the foundations for the greatest team in Milan’s history and is remembered as a gentleman of the game following his passing in 2018.
Massimo Taibi made an unforgettable impact during a short spell at Manchester United, though sadly for the hapless Italian goalkeeper it was for all of the wrong reasons.
Signed as part of a botched succession plan following the departure of Peter Schmeichel, Taibi made just four league appearances for the club, including making a howler against Southampton and shipping five in a humiliating 5-0 thrashing at Chelsea.
He had earlier had two separate spells at Milan without making much of an impression, his turbulent time in the Premier League the abiding memory of the player for English football fans.
After impressing in his native Sweden at IFK Göteborg, Blomqvist made the move to Italy with AC Milan but struggled for opportunities during a disappointing single season at the San Siro.
The midfielder moved on to divisional rivals Parma, before Manchester United made an approach for the left-sided star as Sir Alex Ferguson sought competition and cover for Ryan Giggs.
Blomqvist’s debut season saw him make 38 appearances in all competitions as the Red Devils won a historic Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble in 1998/99, the winger starting the final of the latter competition amid the suspensions of Roy Keane and Paul Scholes.
A serious knee injury ruled out the star for the next two seasons and was released at the end of his contract, later having spells with Everton and Charlton before returning to Swedish football.
You would be hard pressed to build a better centre-half than Jaap Stam if given the utensils to do, a player who combined raw pace with bullish strength and a comfortability stepping forward in possession.
Stam was signed by Manchester United from PSV ahead of the 1998/99 season and proved the difference – alongside fellow arrival Dwight Yorke – to the Red Devils as they sought to finally conquer Europe.
His debut season resulted in a historic treble-winning campaign with the Dutch defender a key figure in each success, before spending a further two seasons at Old Trafford and claiming a Premier League winners’ medal in each campaign.
He moved on to Lazio amid a falling out with Ferguson before signing for Milan, forming part of a formidable backline alongside the likes of Cafu, Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini.
Stam spent two seasons with the Rossoneri and made 65 appearances in all competitions before finishing his career with Ajax.
Part of a contingent of academy graduates who formed the backbone of a glorious era at Manchester United, David Beckham came through the club’s ranks before establishing himself as a superstar for the Premier League’s dominant force.
Beckham won a domestic double during his first full season as a regular and continued to grow in influence and importance, scoring from the halfway line against Wimbledon on the opening day of the 1996/97 season to cement himself as a household name.
He won six league titles and finished as the Premier League’s leading assist provider on three occasions, whilst he was named as runner-up for both the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards following United’s treble-winning season in 1998/99.
Beckham made 394 appearances in all competitions for the club before moving on to Real Madrid and later LA Galaxy, though returned to European football with loan spells at AC Milan and PSG.
The former England captain enjoyed two separate loan spells at the San Siro, his performances earning the midfielder an international recall after being phased out by the Three Lions during his MLS stint.
Thursday’s clash will see Zlatan Ibrahimovic face his old employers in a hugely anticipated clash, the forward’s career having been a nomadic venture across Europe’s superpowers including spells in the red of both Milan and United.
Ibrahimovic is currently in his second stint with the Rossoneri, having fired Milan to the league title during the 2010/11 season after joining on an initial loan deal from Barcelona.
The Swedish superstar scored 56 goals in just 85 appearances before moving on to PSG, becoming the Parisian’s all-time record goalscorer – since eclipsed by Edinson Cavani – and winning four consecutive league titles.
He moved to Manchester United on a free transfer in 2016 and reunited with former Inter boss Jose Mourinho, the veteran swiftly ending any doubts over whether he could handle the rigours of the Premier League.
Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in all competitions in a debut season that was curtailed through injury, winning the League Cup – scoring twice in the final against Southampton – and the Europa League.
He left for a prolific spell in MLS with LA Galaxy after just 18 months before making a surprise return to Europe, where he has reinstated himself as a talismanic figure at Milan, the 39-year-old scoring a staggering 27 goals in just 41 appearances.
United will be well aware of the threat he still poses ahead of Thursday’s first leg meeting.
Matteo Darmian began his career at AC Milan but made just four league appearances before moving on, a short stint at Palermo followed by an impressive period at Torino that attracted Premier League interest.
Darmian signed for Manchester United in a £12.7m deal in 2015 and featured regularly during his debut campaign, but struggled to hold down a starting position in the seasons that followed and found himself an increasingly peripheral figure.
He returned to Italy with Parma in 2019 and the full-back is currently on loan at Serie A league leaders Inter Milan.
Once described as the best young fullback in Europe by Jose Mourinho, Diogo Dalot’s career in the Premier League failed to take off as form and fitness saw him struggle to make an impression.
The 21-year-old fell out of favour following the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager and the signing of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, making just four league appearances last season before departing on loan in search of first-team football.
— Lega Serie A (@SerieA_EN) March 9, 2021
Dalot joined Milan on a season-long loan deal last summer and has made 20 appearances in all competitions this season, featuring regularly during the club’s run to the Europa League knockout stages.