Manchester United number one David de Gea has only been at the club for four years, but in that time he has gone from zero to hero after some remarkable performances in a United shirt.
The Spanish international left Atletico Madrid at the end of the 2010/11 season after Sir Alex Ferguson had spotted him as a replacement for Edwin van der Sar. A deal was agreed with the La Liga outfit, bringing de Gea to Manchester in a deal around £17.8million which was completed after his success with Spain in the U21 European Championships.
The Real Madrid target was questioned about his ability during the first few weeks of the season and on his league debut away to West Brom, he made hard work of trying to deny Shane Long from scoring, which Ferguson described as "a learning process."
Two weeks later, de Gea proved to his critics why he was worth all that money with a stellar performance against Arsenal. United ran out 8-2 winners in the game but a penalty save by the United keeper from Robin van Persie proved vital as the striker could have made the scores level. After the game, teammate Wayne Rooney backed his keeper to go far and described him as a "strong character."
His season continued to change and after the unforgettable 6-1 defeat to Manchester City, de Gea received many more complaints from the media. He was dropped by Ferguson for the away fixture to Chelsea, but with late injury to Anders Lindegaard, the Spaniard was back in the United goal to witness a memorable 3-3 draw in which United came from three goals down. De Gea later claimed that his last minute save from compatriot Juan Mata was the turning point in his season as he went on to play the remaining games of the season for United, keeping eight clean sheets along the way.
After the first season at the club, he was tempted to leave United but decided to stay on as the best was yet to come from the Spanish keeper. After many standout performances which helped United to away wins at Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, the Reds were crownded Champions and their number one was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year after 11 clean sheets in 28 appearances.
It got better for the goalkeeper as de Gea's performances throughout the 2013/14 season saw him named as both the club's Players' Player of the Year and Fans' Player of the Year. In a 2-1 away win at Sunderland, the shotstopper denied Emanuele Giaccherini from scoring which left United legend Peter Schmeichel claiming that it was the best save he has ever seen in the Premier League.
De Gea was, by now, getting praise off all the critics that had questioned him during his first season in England after the individual honours he was collecting at United.
Season after season de Gea was proving to be one of the best in the world, and in his most recent season the 24-year-old could do almost nothing wrong. One stand-out performance was in their 2-1 win over Everton, after which de Gea was the talk of the game for the weeks that followed.
It was the United number one that denied Leighton Baines' penalty after a strong save which as of now proves to be the only penalty the left-back has not scored. Saves from Bryan Oviedo and Leon Osman followed to keep United in sight of the three points. Many people still recall that game against Everton as the best performance de Gea has had in a Manchester United shirt. After crucial saves in the games to follow against West Brom and Chelsea respectively, de Gea picked up the award for Player of the Month for October at United.
After another strong performance against Liverpool in a 3-0 win was another indication of just how good the Spaniard can be, and he was urged by Gary Neville at the time to sign a new contract with the club.
Season after season, he has been improving to be the best he can be and although he suffered the disappointment of not winning a major honour with the club, more individual awards followed towards the end of the season
As the season ended, he was shortlisted for the PFA Players' Player of the Year and the PFA Young Player of the Year, before losing out to Eden Hazard and Harry Kane respectively. On 26 April 2015, De Gea was named in the PFA Team of the Year, as its goalkeeper and only Manchester United player.
He also won both Fans' Player of the Year and Players' Player of the Year awards for the second consecutive season. His save against Everton was voted as Premier League Save of the Season by Match of the Day, the second consecutive year he had won the award.
De Gea has been a huge fan favourite at Manchester United and after a memorable four years at the club, he could be departing for Real Madrid this summer. If the move does happen, Louis van Gaal will have to think long and hard about the replacement of the keeper they now call 'hero'.