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Legends Lookback

As Manchester United Legends prepare to take on Celtic, we take a lookback at some of the epic tussles from legends matches down the years.

| by Nathan Thomas

With a team of United legends set to return to Old Trafford to face Celtic this September, there’s no better way to whet your appetite for the match against the Bhoys than by revisiting some of the previous occasions club greats have reunited in aid of Manchester United Foundation.


Bryan Robson will be in the dugout on Saturday 7th September (14:00 BST) for the latest in a series of highly exciting Legends fixtures, which have taken place over the last 11 years to raise vital funds for our associated charity, and tickets are now on sale to all supporters here.


Robson has played his part in many a special occasion during that time as part of the Foundation’s Legends matches, which have seen some stellar opponents grace the field at the Theatre of Dreams.


The first, back in 2013, saw the now 15-times European champions Real Madrid make the journey over to Manchester, bringing a host of legendary players with them. In the red corner, Paul Scholes and Sir Alex Ferguson were back in M16 less than a month after their respective retirements and were joined by the likes of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Edwin Van Der Sar and Jaap Stam. In the white corner, three former World Footballers of the Year in Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and Fabio Cannavaro were enough to ensure a 2-1 win for Los Blancos with Fernando Morientes and Ruben de la Red cancelling out Van Nistelrooy’s 67th minute strike for United.


Two other European giants would follow the maiden Legends match against Real, as Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona came to town. In 2015, against the Bavarian giants, it was goals galore at Old Trafford as United ran out 4-2 winners thanks to strikes from Louis Saha, Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole and Jesper Blomqvist.


Two years later, against Barca, it was a much tighter affair. At half-time it looked like the Reds were heading for a second-successive Legends match victory with a Ruud van Nistelrooy penalty and a cheeky Danny Webber finish putting United two to the good, but the Catalans rallied and earned a hard-fought draw with late goals from Luis Garcia and Gaizka Mendieta.

Late goals continued to be a theme when in 2019 we celebrated the 20th anniversary of United’s Treble win and the astonishing injury-time comeback against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final of 1999. The Germans again made the trip to Manchester in a reprisal of that legendary match, but there was to be no late drama this time around as a United team led by Sir Alex Ferguson and featuring a host of Treble winners – including David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – powered to a 5-0 triumph, with Ole and Becks joined on the scoresheet by Yorke, Saha and Nicky Butt.

Most recently, in 2022, we welcomed a more local rival to Manchester when old foes Liverpool made the journey down the East Lancs Road for our first Legends match against a British club. On that occasion, a new selection of ex-Reds returned to M16 with Dimitar Berbatov, Antonio Valencia and Patrice Evra all donning the famous red shirt once again. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to prevent a 3-1 reverse, but the Foundation was the real winner of the day, with over £1.3 million raised.


And now, in 2024, Celtic await! A match that has always promised an electric atmosphere, and – fingers crossed – plenty of goals, you’re not going to want to miss this.

As ever, proceeds from this match will go towards supporting the Foundation’s community work with young people in Greater Manchester and beyond. You can pledge your support and book your tickets here