Football

The moment Luis Figo was put to shame by John O'Shea's skills in 2003

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Portuguese midfielder Luis Figo was one of the finest players of his generation and John O'Shea was a footballer.

The two players came head-to-head in Manchester United's famous Champions League quarter-final defeat to Real Madrid in April 2003.

Madrid won the home leg 3-1 and - winning 6-5 on aggregate - a Ronaldo hat-trick at Old Trafford proved crucial in their 4-3 away defeat.

The Irish defender came through the Manchester United youth academy and made his senior debut under Sir Alex Ferguson all the way back in 1999.

O'Shea stayed at Old Trafford until 2011, racking up almost 400 appearances and winning 11 major trophies.

Now 36, the versatile defender currently plays in the Championship with Sunderland.

In 2000, Figo controversially moved from Barcelona to Real Madrid in a record breaking £37m deal.

'Los Blancos' triggered the winger's release clause and Figo became public enemy number one at the Camp Nou after accepting Madrid's offer.

O' Shea's magnificent nutmeg

Real Madrid's famous Champions League clash with Real Madrid is probably best remembered for Ronaldo's stunning hat-trick.

However, many remember this game so vividly because of O'Shea's glorious nutmeg on one of Europe's finest flair players.

Figo, who has the second most assists in La Liga history, won the 2000 Ballon d'Or and the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year.

O'Shea was a 21-year-old Irishman who had spent the last two seasons on loan at Bournemouth and Royal Antwerp.

In 2017 terms, this would equate to Lionel Messi being nutmegged by Rob Holding.

"I could play John anywhere," said Ferguson after the Madrid match.

"He would do well in central midfield. He has great passing awareness, two good feet, he is quick, and he is balanced.

"Two years ago he was a big skinny lad from Ireland, all skin and bone, and there he was playing in the quarter-finals of the European Cup."

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Topics:
David Beckham
John O'Shea
Football
Michael Carrick

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