The Manchester United team that beat Real Madrid 4-3 in 2003 - Where are they now?

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You’d need a full day to list every thrilling football match that Manchester United were involved in during Sir Alex Ferguson’s 26-year tenure.

The legendary Scottish coach was in charge of 1,500 Man Utd games in total - and so many of them featured dramatic, unforgettable moments.

One of the most entertaining matches of Ferguson’s reign took place on April 23, 2003. It was the Champions League quarter-final second leg between United and Real Madrid and many of you reading this will remember precisely what happened that night.

United, 3-1 down from the first leg, needed to produce a flawless performance to advance to the semi-finals.

Madrid possessed the most star-studded squad on the planet, boasting world-class talent in the form of Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos, Claude Makelele, Iker Casillas and Ronaldo.

Fergie’s men were far from flawless that night and were subsequently dumped out of the competition, but they still managed to win and delight their supporters with a spirited performance.

Ronaldo sent Los Blancos through to the next round with a memorable hat-trick - he was famously applauded by the United supporters after he was subbed off for Santiago Solari in the 67th minute - but United won thanks to goals from Ruud van Nistelrooy, an Ivan Helguera own goal, plus a brace from David Beckham.

Watch the highlights here…

Where are the Man Utd players now?

Fifteen years on from this brilliant football match, let’s find out what the Man Utd players from that night are up to now.

Fabien Barthez

The unorthodox French goalkeeper went on to play for Marseille and Nantes before hanging up his boots in 2007.

Rather unexpectedly, he then entered the world of motorsport, becoming a professional racing driver in 2008, and has since competed in Le Mans 24.


John O’Shea

John O’Shea, who famously nutmegged the great Luis Figo in this match, has unfortunately just been relegated to League One with Sunderland.

The 36-year-old has no plans to retire this summer, despite recent reports stating otherwise.

Rio Ferdinand

Left Manchester United in 2014 for Queens Park Rangers, where he had one ill-fated campaign before retiring.

The former England international has since worked as a pundit for BT Sport, still absolutely loves Man Utd, and is about to enter the world of professional boxing.

Rio Ferdinand Press Conference London

Wes Brown

Wes Brown left Old Trafford in 2011 and went on to have spells with Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers.

Now 38, the defender currently plies his trade for Kerala Blasters, managed by former England goalkeeper David James, in the Indian Super League.

Manchester United Legends v FC Barcelona Legends

Mikael Silvestre

The French left-back spent nine years with United before he was sold to Arsenal in 2008.

After two years at the Emirates, he went on to play for Werder Bremen, Portland Timbers and Chennaiyin in the Indian Super League. The former France international, 40, has recently been working on gaining his coaching badges.


Juan Sebastian Veron

Manchester United fans only saw glimpses of Juan Sebastian Veron’s world-class talent and it hardly came as a shock when he left Old Trafford in the summer of 2003.

The Argentine midfielder also failed to shine at Chelsea and was soon back at his beloved Estudiantes, with whom he won the Copa Libertadores and the South American Footballer of the Year award in both 2008 and 2009.

The 43-year-old is now chairman of the Argentine club and even came out of retirement to play a few matches for them last season.


Nicky Butt

Nicky Butt left Man Utd in 2004 and spent six years with Newcastle before ending his playing career with South China in 2011.

He is now the academy director at United and co-owns Salford City along with fellow ‘Class of ’92’ members Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.


Roy Keane

Left Man Utd under a cloud following a bust-up with Ferguson in 2005 and spent one season with Celtic before hanging up his boots.

Keane has since managed Sunderland and Ipswich Town. He was also the assistant at Aston Villa in 2014 and has worked as Martin O’Neill’s assistant with the Republic of Ireland national team since 2013.

Oh, and he also works as a pundit for ITV Sport on Champions League games.

Burnley v Leicester City - Premier League

Ruud van Nistelrooy

One of the greatest goalscorers in United’s history, Ruud van Nistelrooy spent four years with Real Madrid after leaving Old Trafford in 2006.

The Dutchman then spent a season at Hamburg before retiring with Malaga in 2012.

He worked as assistant manager of the Netherlands national team between 2014 and 2016 and is currently in charge of PSV’s youth team.

Manchester United Legends v FC Barcelona Legends

Ryan Giggs

The legendary Welshman continued to play for United until the age of 40 and worked as assistant manager to Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford between 2014 and 2016.

Giggs left United in 2016 after Jose Mourinho was appointed as Van Gaal’s successor.

In 2018, he landed his first managerial role and will now attempt to help Wales secure qualification for the 2020 European Championships.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

A man loved by every United supporter, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finished his playing career with the Red Devils in 2007.

He then coached United’s reserve side between 2008 and 2011, before going on to manage Molde and Cardiff City.

After failing to prevent Cardiff from being relegated to the Championship, Solskjaer returned to Molde in 2015.

AFC Ajax v Molde FK - UEFA Europa League

Subs Used

Phil Neville

Phil Neville went on to spend eight happy years with Everton after leaving United in 2005.

He then returned to Old Trafford in 2013 to work on David Moyes’ coaching staff, although we all know how that turned out.

Neville then spent time at Valencia for a couple of seasons, at one point working under his brother Gary, and is now the head coach of the England Women’s team.

England v Wales - Women's World Cup Qualifier

David Beckham

David Beckham spent four years with Real Madrid after leaving his beloved United in 2003, before enjoying spells with LA Galaxy, AC Milan and, finally, Paris Saint-Germain.

The 42-year-old has kept himself busy since retiring in 2013 and is currently in the process of setting up his new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami.


Quinton Fortune

The South African midfielder, who retired in 2010 after a brief spell with Doncaster Rovers, has worked as both a youth coach and a pundit in recent years.

The 40-year-old regularly pops up on United’s TV channel, MUTV.


Subs Not Used


United fans can be forgiven if they don’t remember Ricardo, who only made a handful of appearances for the Red Devils before joining Osasuna in 2005.

After resting in 2013, he went on to work as Japan’s goalkeeper coach and is now the manager of Spanish club Racing de Ferrol.

Ricardo of Man utd warms up

Laurent Blanc

A footballer with intelligence and leadership qualities, it was no surprise that Laurent Blanc went into management after retiring in 2003.

After three successful years with Bordeaux, he landed the France job in 2010 and coached Les Bleus for two years.

He then won three league titles in as many seasons with Paris Saint-Germain before leaving the Parc des Princes in 2016. He’s currently waiting for the right opportunity to get back into management.


Diego Forlan

Few people would have envisaged the seemingly hapless Diego Forlan going on to be the best player at a World Cup following his spell with United - but that’s exactly what happened in 2010.

Forlan’s career took off after leaving Old Trafford and he is now considered one of the greatest players in Uruguay’s history.

The 38-year-old is still playing with Kitchee in the Hong Kong Premier League.


Darren Fletcher

The Scottish midfielder, now 34, spent 12 years with United and went on to become a firm fan favourite.

Fletcher spent two seasons with West Brom before joining Stoke City in 2017, but could find himself playing in the Championship next season unless the Potters can avoid relegation from the Premier League.

Manchester United v Stoke City - Premier League

Ryan Giggs
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
Gary Neville
Alex Ferguson
UEFA Champions League

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