After an energetic opening ceremony featuring 200 volunteer dancers, a pre-match concert from recording artists Amelia Lily, Tinchy Stryder and JLS warmed up the 60,013-strong crowd ahead of the game.
Stunning Amelia Lily opened the concert with her debut single You Bring Me Joy and was impressed with the ‘incredible’ atmosphere at Old Trafford, whilst rapper and United fan Tinchy Stryder was thrilled to play at his ‘Number One’ team’s home ground.
In one of the last appearances before their farewell tour later this year, JLS closed the concert with a polished performance of their hit singles and Marvin Humes commented, “It’s such a huge year for Manchester United, for us to be here in such a momentous year for the Club, it’s fitting, as it’s a huge year for us too.”
United team manager Bryan Robson led a host of former Manchester United players, including Edwin van der Sar, Jaap Stam and the recently retired Paul Scholes. Real Madrid responded by fielding a strong team to the fixture, which included Luis Figo, Claude Makelele and three-times World Player of the Year Zinedine Zidane.
Ruud van Nistelrooy made an appearance for each of his former teams but despite him scoring a spectacular equaliser in the Stretford End, the Spanish team took home the winners’ trophy as the match finished 2-1 in their favour.
Ruud commented, “It was fantastic to score again today at Old Trafford, I really looked forward to coming back here and my first time back, to score a goal, it is always a fantastic feeling and it was the same today. The reception from the crowd was fantastic, I left quickly and didn’t have the chance to say goodbye so it was great to be back here now and go onto the pitch to thank the fans, the reception was a big, big bonus.”
David Gill, Chief Executive of Manchester United, concluded the event: “I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved; it was a fabulous day and I’d like to say a massive thank you to all the fans who have supported this event. We have raised £1 million for the Foundation which will be put to great use in the community.”
All proceeds from Red Heart United will go to the Manchester United Foundation and will help to fund projects that help young people in disadvantaged areas of Greater Manchester.
Read the match report here.
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