UEFA Celebration Match

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
UEFA Celebration Match
Date 13 March 2007
Venue Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee Markus Merk (Germany)1
Attendance 74,343

The UEFA Celebration Match was a football match played on 13 March 2007 as a celebration of both the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundations for the European Union, and the 50th year of Manchester United's participation in UEFA competitions. Representatives felt it would be more appropriate to celebrate the landmark using a football match rather than another form of celebration.2 A Europe XI managed by Italian World Cup-winning manager Marcello Lippi played against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Manchester. The match was televised live on BBC Three in the United Kingdom and also streamed live via the BBC website.3 The £1.25 million raised went towards the Manchester United Foundation.4 The match was officiated by German referee Markus Merk.15



Although the capacity of Old Trafford at the time was over 76,000, this was substantially reduced for the game due to the installation of two giant screens that would show a pre-match video featuring clips of Manchester United's involvement in European matches over the previous 50 years.6 By the weekend before the game, 70,000 tickets had been sold at £17 for adults, half-price for over-65s and £5 for under-16s.67 The capacity for the match was reportedly capped at 72,000; however, the attendance reported after the game was in excess of 74,000. Proceeds from ticket sales went towards the Manchester United Foundation, a group working towards improving the lives of young people in the local community using football.7


German referee Markus Merk was appointed to officiate the match.

Reflecting the various nations of Europe, the officials for the match came from four different countries. The referee, Markus Merk from Germany, had previously taken charge of the 2003 UEFA Champions League Final – also at Old Trafford – as well as the 1997 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final, and was the German representative at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, and at the 2000 and 2004 European Championships, refereeing the final in 2004. Merk's assistants were Italian Alessandro Griselli and Belgian Mark Simons, while the fourth official was Howard Webb of England.1

Team selection

The first player to be added to the Europe XI squad was former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham, then of Real Madrid. He was soon followed by Liverpool players Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.8 The next additions were Lyon trio Grégory Coupet, Éric Abidal and Juninho Pernambucano,9 and then the FC Barcelona quartet of Carles Puyol, Lilian Thuram, Gianluca Zambrotta and Ronaldinho. In addition to allowing his players to play in the match, Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard joined Marcello Lippi on the Europe XI coaching staff.10

The weekend before the game saw the final confirmation of most of the squad, including Henrik Larsson, whose 10-week loan at Manchester United came to an end on 12 March. Also confirming their availability on 10 March were Internazionale trio Zlatan Ibrahimović, Marco Materazzi and Fabio Grosso, as well as a further Lyon player, Florent Malouda, and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn. However, David Beckham was ruled out of the game after suffering a sprained knee ligament.11 A final tranche of players was added on 11 March, including Milan quartet Paolo Maldini, Gennaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo and Ronaldo, Roma midfielder Mancini, Valencia defender Miguel and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.12

However, on the day of the game, there were a number of withdrawals, most notably Ronaldinho, who aggravated an existing injury in Barcelona's game against Real Madrid the previous weekend.13 Other drop-outs were Oliver Kahn, Iker Casillas, Paolo Maldini, Lilian Thuram, Carles Puyol, Fabio Grosso, Miguel, Juninho and Ronaldo. The last-minute nature of these withdrawals led to further call-ups, predominantly team-mates of the remaining squad members and from other English clubs; these final players were Santiago Cañizares, Roberto Ayala (both Valencia), Iván Campo, Stelios Giannakopoulos, El Hadji Diouf (all Bolton Wanderers), Dejan Stefanović (Portsmouth), Philippe Christanval (Fulham), Kim Källström (Lyon), Boudewijn Zenden and Robbie Fowler (both Liverpool).

Manchester United had a number of players missing due to injury. Edwin van der Sar strained his calf in the warm-up before United's FA Cup match against Middlesbrough on 10 March, and Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidić picked up knocks in the same game.14 Other long-term injury concerns included Mikael Silvestre (dislocated shoulder), Darren Fletcher (ankle), Louis Saha (hamstring) and Ole Gunnar Solskjær (knee).15 However, Alan Smith was available as he made his recovery from a broken leg and dislocated ankle he suffered in February 2006. There were also places in the team for youngsters Kieran Richardson, Chris Eagles and Tom Heaton, while Dong Fangzhuo – recently returned from a loan spell at Royal Antwerp after receiving a UK work permit – was added to the first-team squad to bolster a depleted strike force.16 United also had a guest player of their own: Andrew Cole – then of Portsmouth – made a return to Old Trafford in the number 9 shirt that he had worn for the majority of his career there.

Match details

13 March 2007
20:00 GMT
Manchester United England 4–3 European Union Europe XI
Rooney Goal 6'43'
Brown Goal 9'
Ronaldo Goal 35'
Report Malouda Goal 23'
Diouf Goal 52'88' (pen.)
Old Trafford, Manchester
Attendance: 74,34317
Referee: Markus Merk (Germany)1
Manchester United
Europe XI
GK 29 Poland Tomasz Kuszczak Substituted off 45'
RB 2 England Gary Neville (c) Substituted off 45'
CB 6 England Wes Brown
CB 4 Argentina Gabriel Heinze
LB 23 England Kieran Richardson
RM 7 Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo Substituted off 45'
CM 18 England Paul Scholes
CM 11 Wales Ryan Giggs Substituted off 45'
LM 13 South Korea Park Ji-Sung
CF 8 England Wayne Rooney Substituted off 45'
CF 14 England Alan Smith Substituted off 72'
GK 38 England Tom Heaton Substituted in 45'
DF 22 Republic of Ireland John O'Shea Substituted in 45'
MF 16 England Michael Carrick Substituted in 45'
MF 33 England Chris Eagles Substituted in 45'
FW 9 England Andrew Cole (guest) Substituted in 45'
FW 21 China Dong Fangzhuo Substituted in 72'
Scotland Alex Ferguson
Man Utd vs Europe XI 2007-03-13.svg
GK 1 Spain Santiago Cañizares (Valencia) Substituted off 45'
RB 11 Italy Gianluca Zambrotta (Barcelona) Substituted off 64'
CB 4 Argentina Roberto Ayala (Valencia) Substituted off 45'
CB 23 Italy Marco Materazzi (Internazionale) Substituted off 45'
LB 20 France Éric Abidal (Lyon) Substituted off 45'
RM 30 Brazil Mancini (Roma) Substituted off 45'
CM 21 Italy Andrea Pirlo (Milan) Substituted off 45'
CM 18 Italy Gennaro Gattuso (Milan) Substituted off 45'
LM 14 France Florent Malouda (Lyon) Substituted off 45'
CF 10 Sweden Zlatan Ibrahimović (Internazionale) Substituted off 45'
CF 17 Sweden Henrik Larsson (c) (Helsingborg) Substituted off 64'
GK 12 France Grégory Coupet (Lyon) Substituted in 45'
DF 2 Spain Iván Campo (Bolton Wanderers) Substituted in 64'
DF 3 Serbia Dejan Stefanović (Portsmouth) Substituted in 45'
DF 5 France Philippe Christanval (Fulham) Substituted in 45'
DF 15 England Jamie Carragher (Liverpool) Substituted in 45'
MF 6 Sweden Kim Källström (Lyon) Substituted in 45'
MF 7 Greece Stelios Giannakopoulos (Bolton Wanderers) Substituted in 45'
MF 8 England Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) Substituted in 45'
MF 32 Netherlands Boudewijn Zenden (Liverpool) Substituted in 45'
FW 9 England Robbie Fowler (Liverpool) Substituted in 64'
FW 19 Senegal El Hadji Diouf (Bolton Wanderers) Substituted in 45'
Italy Marcello Lippi

Assistant referees:
Italy Alessandro Griselli (Italy)1
Belgium Mark Simons (Belgium)1
Fourth official:
England Howard Webb (England)1


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Referees appointed for Celebration Match". UEFA.com (Union of European Football Associations). 26 February 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "European celebration match in Manchester". UEFA.com (Union of European Football Associations). 9 December 2006. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Man Utd v Europe XI on the BBC". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 21 February 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Man Utd 4-3 Europe XI". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 13 March 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Merk to referee gala game". UEFA.com (Union of European Football Associations). 26 February 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Thompson, Gemma (11 March 2007). "Milan quartet to play at OT". ManUtd.com (Manchester United). Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Bostock, Adam (11 March 2007). "Tickets: United v Europe XI". ManUtd.com (Manchester United). Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Beckham to return to Manchester". UEFA.com (Union of European Football Associations). 13 February 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Lyon stars in Europe XI lineup". UEFA.com (Union of European Football Associations). 16 February 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "Ronaldinho, Carles Puyol, Lilian Thuram and Gianluca Zambrotta in Europe XI squad". UEFA.com (Union of European Football Associations). 28 February 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Henrik Larsson to say goodbye to Old Trafford as member of Marcello Lippi's Europe XI squad". UEFA.com (Union of European Football Associations). 10 March 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "Stars descend on Manchester". UEFA.com (Union of European Football Associations). 11 March 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  13. ^ Thompson, Gemma (13 March 2007). "Ronaldinho misses out". ManUtd.com (Manchester United). Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  14. ^ Hibbs, Ben (10 March 2007). "Boss hopeful on injured trio". ManUtd.com (Manchester United). Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  15. ^ Thompson, Gemma (9 March 2007). "Strong side travels to Boro". ManUtd.com (Manchester United). Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  16. ^ Thompson, Gemma (13 March 2007). "Dong joins senior squad". ManUtd.com (Manchester United). Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  17. ^ Bostock, Adam (13 March 2007). "Report: United 4 Europe XI 3". ManUtd.com (Manchester United). Retrieved 25 April 2011. 

Creative Commons License