John O'Shea nutmegged Luis Figo during Man Utd vs Real Madrid 17 years ago today

Seventeen years ago today, the Brazilian Ronaldo rocked up at Old Trafford and scored a hat-trick during an incredible seven-goal thriller between Manchester United and Real Madrid.

United won 4-3 on the night but crashed out of the Champions League after Real had won the first leg 3-1 at the Bernabeu.

The Galacticos may have cruised into the semi-finals of the competition but the night belonged to one man.

No, not Ronaldo who took home the match ball and received a standing ovation when he was substituted.

But a certain John O’Shea.

In the opening few minutes of the match, O’Shea – who was playing left-back on the night – controlled a cross-field pass on his chest, took a touch with his left foot as the legendary Luis Figo closed him down.

What happened next went down in football history as O’Shea knocked the ball between Figo’s legs and got on the other end of it.


O’Shea was never the most technically gifted player – despite playing almost 400 times for the club under Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Irishman was versatile and Fergie knew he could rely on him to do a job wherever he was played. But not even the Scot could have predicted O’Shea humiliating Figo that night.

Years later, Figo was asked about that moment and was pleased to hear people were still talking about it.

“To do that to me was very easy because I’m an attacking player…I always go open [laughs],” Figo said.

“Well it’s funny like I said I’m not too good with remembering that kind of stuff but if he was happy, I’m happy!”

Of course, that was about as good it would get for United that night as Ronaldo ran riot to help his side into the last four of the competition.

Try telling O’Shea that his nutmeg ultimately meant nothing, though…

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