Back in 2003, Real Madrid and Manchester United played out one of the most enthralling two-legged ties in Champions League history.
The two heavyweights met in the quarter-finals of Europe’s premier club cup competitions and although Madrid, then at the height of the Galactico era, were favourites to progress to the semis, nobody would dare write off Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.
The tie turned out to be even more thrilling than anyone could have realistically predicted. Madrid did reach the semi-finals thanks to a 6-5 aggregate victory but both matches were bonafide classics.
Man Utd were outclassed in the first leg at the Bernabeu.
The Red Devils were left with a mountain to climb after Luis Figo and Raul both scored for the home side in the opening 30 minutes. The tie then appeared to be over when Raul netted his second goal of the night shortly after half-time.
However, Ruud van Nistelrooy set up an intriguing second leg by scoring a precious away goal minutes later.
United prevented their opponents from scoring another goal and Ferguson knew his side still had half a chance back at Old Trafford.
The biggest shock ahead of the second leg was Ferguson’s decision to name David Beckham amongst the substitutes. Juan Sebastian Veron was deployed from the start instead.
The much-maligned Veron had only just returned from a lengthy injury lay-off and leaving Beckham out of his line-up for the inconsistent Argentine was seen as a huge gamble by United’s manager.
Video: Zidane schooled Beckham in the first leg
Had Ferguson left Beckham out of his starting line-up after what Zinedine Zidane did to him during the first leg?
There was one moment at the Bernabeu when Zizou schooled Beckham without even touching the ball.
You can watch it here…
Or watch it from another angle by skipping to 0:42 in this video...
We jest, of course.
This obviously wasn’t the reason why Beckham was left out.
However, being axed from the starting line-up convinced Beckham that his time at United was over.
Fergie's second-leg gamble backfired
Fergie’s gamble backfired and the Scot was left red-faced during the second half when Beckham, who would leave Old Trafford for Real Madrid a few months later, came off the bench and scored two goals to set up a frantic finale.
An unforgettable hat-trick by Ronaldo, however, was ultimately enough to send Vicente del Bosque’s side to the last four.
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