Probably the greatest assembly of global talent ever with Zinedine Zidane, Guti, Figo, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Claude Makelele, Fernando Morientes, Fernando Hierro, Iker Casillas taking on a Utd side with Mikel Silvestre included. Check out the breathtaking exhibition of touch passing working the tight spaces as Zidane unlocks the Utd defense to find Ronaldo via Carlos for his second goal. Tell me Barca would not be proud of that.
Ronaldo had already lashed a 20 yarder that bounced awkwardly for Fabian Barthez for his first goal. But Ruud Van Nistelrooy collected his 12th goal in 9 CL appearances after he connected on a cross by a sliding Ole Gunner Solksjaer. The baby faced killer was in for Beckham sitting out the wrath of Sir Alex for his Spice Girl distractions. Half time was all even steven.
Then came Ronaldo's second goal and things looked grim. But Ivan Helguera's own goal raised Old Trafford's hopes. Back came Real through Ronaldo creating a few feet of space and unleashing a blistering drive that gave Barthez absolutely no chance. A hat trick at Old Trafford. How special is that. He left to an standing ovation in the 67th minute. By then Sir Alex had trotted out Beckham in a last throw of the dice to wrest this match. And minutes later, he delivered through what he called his best free kick ever. No arguments there. Watch Casillas not move a muscle.
Utd finally went ahead as Beckham at the receiving end of Fernando Hierro's inadvertent backpass, managed to scramble the ball home before Casillas. But Real never relinquished control and there was a sense the outcome was already decided despite Utd's valiant efforts with the 3-1 gap in the first leg proving too formidable.