A Excellent Britain & Ireland XI triumphed 3-1 more than a Rest of the Planet XI in front of 75,381 in attendance at Old Trafford, but who continues to impress regardless of their advancing years?
COMMENT By Alex Young at Old Trafford
A host of the world’s greatest former players entertained a sold out Old Trafford as a Great Britain & Ireland XI led by David Beckham triumphed 3-1 more than a Rest of the World XI on Saturday.
Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes all impressed as soon as once again at the home of Manchester United, with the latter opening the scoring, prior to Michael Owen settled matters in the second half.
Ronaldinho looked at residence with a series of tricks and flicks, and a lot of of the game’s older stars outshone the likes of Ashley Cole and Peter Crouch, albeit in a relaxed game.
Which of the greats on show could nonetheless strut their stuff at the larger levels of the game? Purpose looks at the most impressive performers.
David Beckham, adorned in red and wearing No.7, thrived on the correct. At every single chance – read: each time he received the ball – the Wonderful Britain & Ireland XI captain swung that famous correct foot in search of other folks up field.
It was a case of déjà vu most welcome, seeing Beckham trot towards the corner flag to developing cheers, highlighted in the winter afternoon by the flashing of smartphone cameras.
The script demanded it was Beckham who would provide the help for the opening goal, curling a pinpoint cross from his favoured flank on to the head of former team-mate Paul Scholes.
In truth Beckham continues to, even in retirement, rival anybody in the Premier League and elsewhere with his crossing from out wide.
In a touching moment close to the end of the game, Beckham made way for eldest son Brooklyn, who also wore a No.7 shirt. His very first contribution? A great left-footed cross towards the far post. A single to watch, possibly.
It took less than 30 seconds for Paul Scholes to nick the ball off Rest of the Planet captain Luis Figo with a neat touch and control, and much less than two minutes for his initial volleyed effort towards aim from the edge of the region. If there was anyone 1 the field still capable of the sublime, it was Scholes.
Rolling back the years, Scholes teamed up nicely with former group-mate Nicky Butt throughout and still had the legs in him to break on the counter. He turns 41 years old on Monday.
Scholes broke the deadlock, against a Rest of the Planet XI not taking the game as entirely seriously as David Beckham & Co. seemed to be, with a leap and header a man half his age would have been proud of.
In truth Scholes could, and possibly should, have added a lot more to his tally for the afternoon, mistiming an additional volleyed effort from 18 yards prior to opting for the chip from a equivalent position which beat Raimond van der Gouw but not the cross bar in the final minutes.
The diminutive midfielder also played a portion in his team’s second objective, volleying a hanging cross from Beckham towards Michael Owen, who tucked the ball away from six yards.
With his neat touch and continual awareness, Scholes was thriving and his screams in exasperation when a shot was blocked or a pass in his direction was reduce out proved his passion for the game remains.
With 45 years below his belt, Cafu was one particular of the oldest on show at Old Trafford but that didn’t stop him frustrating Ashley Cole throughout his full 90-minute run out.
The Brazilian, slightly much more reserved than in the heydays of his marauding runs down the flank, kept the defender 11 years his junior quiet for the most element and linked up well with Clarence Seedorf and Ronaldinho when venturing forward.
Come the latter stages of the game, Cafu opted against his defensive duties and was frequently the only outlet on the proper-hand side for the Rest of the Globe, patiently waiting for an chance to test David Seaman.
To complete the trio of former Manchester United greats, Ryan Giggs was also amongst the stars of the show.
Despite turning 42 later in November, the existing assistant manager at Old Trafford lasted 60 minutes and brought cheers from the crowd with nostalgic link-up play with Paul Scholes.
Giggs, in a move which could be deemed as practically toying with the crowd, skipped previous challenges from the likes of Fernando Couto, Luis Figo and Mikael Silvestre and darted towards aim in a run similar to his popular effort against Arsenal over 16 years ago.
However, it was one step as well far this time and Edwin van der Sar was in a position to gather the ball ahead of a gasping Giggs.
This was the perfect platform for Ronaldinho. He may have struggled in true competitive action in the much more current years of his waning career, acquiring criticised by Fluminense fans right after a poor two-month spell earlier this years, but the Brazilian was all tricks and showboating at Old Trafford.
Be it a wiggle of the hips, an inexplicable scooped pass – which came off – or, believe it or not, his continual want to discover space, Ronaldinho and his popular grin was there for all to see on Saturday.
The highlight of his game, and perhaps the afternoon as a entire, was a sublime twist of the boot and a threaded no-look pass to Patrick Kluivert, which had the whole Fantastic Britain & Ireland defence fooled, with the Dutchman then beating David James with a back heel. It was just a shame Kluivert was about six yards offside.
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