Football

Peter Schmeichel | The legend returns...

Schmeichel spent eight successful years at Old Trafford. (©GettyImages)
Schmeichel spent eight successful years at Old Trafford. (©GettyImages).

Manchester United are preparing to welcome a legend back to Old Trafford, with Peter Schmeichel set to rejoin the club as an official ambassador.

The Great Dane served the Red Devils with great distinction during his eight year tenure between the sticks, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever goalkeepers to grace the Premier League.

Schmeichel will follow in the footsteps of other former players Bryan Robson and Gary Neville to take up an ambassadorial role, which will see him reunited with the club 13 years after he left following an unprecedented domestic and European treble.

In tribute to Schmeichel, GiveMeFootball takes a walk down memory lane and recalls the career of a Manchester United legend...


Schmeichel was famous for his intimidating physique, standing at 6ft 3in and weighing 16st 7lb during his playing days. Best remembered for his most successful years at Manchester United, he is also the most capped player for the Denmark national team with 129 appearances during a 14-year period between 1987 and 2001, captaining the side on 30 occasions.

After arriving at Old Trafford in a £505,000 deal from Brondby on 6 August 1991, Schmeichel went 367 minutes before conceding a goal, and kept an impressive 24 clean sheets, to help the Red Devils to second place in the table in his debut season in England.

The following campaign, United were crowned domestic champions for the first time in 26 years in 1992-93 - a feat indebted to Schmeichel after a whopping 22 clean sheets in the league. He proved fundamental in the Premier League and FA Cup double winning seasons in 1993-94 and 1995-96, and United also won the title again in 1996-97.

In eight successful years in total, Schmeichel won five Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup and the Champions League, leaving the 'Theatre of Dreams' at the end of 1998-99 after helping the club to the treble.

"Schmeichel was possibly the greatest keeper of all time," reflected United boss Sir Alex Ferguson. "He was capable of truly mind-blowing saves – his reflexes were magnificent for such a big man.

"He used his size to great effect. Nobody could make themselves big like he did, and I don't know how many times I saw a striker bottle it when Schmeichel charged off his line at them."

His impact, not only in Manchester, but on the English game as a whole meant that Schmeichel will be forever remembered on these shores - testament to the fact that he was voted the best goalkeeper ever in a public poll by Reuters in 2001, and two years later he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his influence in the Premier League. In 2004 the Dane was named as one the "125 greatest living footballers", at the FIFA 100 celebrations.

"The greatest players for me, they're always attackers, the ones who make something happen out of nothing," added Ferguson. "The Peles, [Diego] Maradonas, [Johan] Cruyffs of the past. [Lionel] Messi, [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Wayne] Rooney of today.

"But Schmeichel was a rare exception of a keeper who was as influential as the best players of his era."

Into his mid-30s, Schmeichel decided that 1998-99 would be his last season with United, and how he ended it in style. His best personal campaign came in 1994-95, when he kept 25 clean sheets in 42 appearances, but the way in which he bowed out of Old Trafford, was truly fitting of the remarkable man.

Schmeichel saved a last-gasp Denis Bergkamp penalty to send United's FA Cup semi-final replay against Arsenal into extra-time, where a Ryan Giggs wonder goal snatched a final meeting against Newcastle - a match they won 2-0.

The Danish stopper also produced a phenomenal display on the final day of the Premier League season to earn a 2-1 victory over Tottenham and clinch the title ahead of the Gunners by a solitary point, to secure another domestic double.

And, if that wasn't great enough, in his final ever appearance for the club, Schmeichel captained United to a 2-1 victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in the most thrilling of circumstances, completing the illustrious treble.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
Peter Schmeichel

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