Reliving that historic season 20 years ago became something of a replay for a few of them at Manchester United.
Paul Scholes still has an indifferent relationship with tackling. David Beckham’s right foot still prompts the most excitement inside Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still poaches goals off the bench.
Sunday afternoon served as light relief at United, beating a star-studded Bayern Munich 5-0 on a joyous occasion to celebrate the 1999 Treble and, crucially, raise funds for United’s foundation.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer showed his still has a striker’s instinct by popping up in the right place to slot home the opening goal
The Manchester United manager was mobbed by his team-mates after hitting the back of the Bayern Munich net
Solskjaer waved to the masses inside a bustling Old Trafford, as thousands turned out to spectate the charity match
Dwight Yorke doubled the lead for the Red Devils with a well-placed volley into the roof of the goal
The former striker dispatched the effort with a first-time hit and showed he still possesses a clinical edge in front of goal
Yorke smiled broadly as fellow United legend Gary Neville headed over to congratulate him on the effort
Nicky Butt got himself involved in the goal-scoring exploits and picked out the bottom corner to make it 3-0
The former star, and now United youth coach, held his arms aloft in celebration and evidently enjoyed bagging a goal
Man Utd XI: Schmeichel, G.Neville, Stam, Johnsen, Irwin, Beckham, Butt, Scholes, Blomqvist, Yorke, Cole
Subs: Pilkington, van der Gouw, Berg, Berg, Brown, May, Silvestre, Greening, Poborsky, Saha, Sheringham, Solskjaer
Goals: Solskjaer, Yorke, Butt, Saha, Beckham
Bayern XI: Butt, Witeczek, Demichelis, Matthaus, Ottl, Ze Roberto, Effenberg, Sergio, Olic, Makaay, Elber
There were flickers of class from the majority out there, noticeably Beckham, and some roar when Solskjaer opened the scoring after only four minutes. He had risen from the bench after just 58 seconds to replace Andy Cole and tapped in Jesper Blomqvist’s centre soon after.
The lack of anxiety inside this stadium made an agreeable change, with more than 60,000 in attendance just enjoying their day, watching the old boys; occasionally laughing at a tumble.
They saw Nicky Butt spritely patrol midfield, Gary Neville pop up in the opposition’s box when least expected, Jaap Stam hammer into attackers. Only Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane were absent.
Sir Alex Ferguson grinned on from the dugout, now occupied by the scorer of Sunday’s first goal. Looking healthy, the 77-year-old beamed when leading the Legends out of the tunnel, waving to the crowd.
The moment many fans had been waited for happened late on, as David Beckham scored United’s final goal for 5-0
The Old Trafford legend wound back the years and celebrated wildly after scoring on his old stomping ground
Beckham was one of the star names on show and got involved in the action early on with a series of neat flicks
The 44-year-old looked like he had never been away, and was busy crossing in balls with his trademark pinpoint precision
The familiar Beckham silhouette was seen as the former United and Real Madrid man angled himself to take a free-kick
Beckham took to the pitch in a pair of throwback Adidas Predators, bearing the names of his children individually
‘My thoughts turned to the players when I found out about the game,’ the former boss said. ‘What do they look like now? Will they have grey hair? Will they have put on weight? Will they still be able to kick a ball? We will soon find out!’
Ferguson might have been pleasantly surprised, although he and assistant Steve McClaren had head in hands when Neville slashed wide when through.
Teddy Sheringham, now 53, seems to have exactly the same physique as when he nicked that equaliser in the Nou Camp. Dennis Irwin did his job with minimal fuss.
Dwight Yorke’s touch and link up play remained tight, coming short to good effect. His goal, United’s second coming in the 30th minute, was expertly taken. Blomqvist again found his intended target, clipping from the left and Yorke swivelled to help beyond Hans-Jorg Butt on the volley.
Butt scored a deserved third late on when breaking from midfield to stab home Louis Saha’s cut back. Saha, who joined United from Fulham in 2004, added a fourth himself, making sure Jonathan Greening’s cross was put away.
Paul Scholes came close to hitting the back of the net after chipping an effort over goalkeeper Hans-Jorg Butt
Teddy Sheringham found himself in the right area inside the box to get a header on target, but it was saved by the goalkeeper
Legendary stopper Peter Schmeichel took between the sticks for United, sporting the brand new home shirt for next season
Revered former manager Sir Alex Ferguson took to the dug-out after agreeing to return as boss for the fixture
The legendary Scotsman looked a picture of health and smiled and waved at supporters who clamoured for his attention
The noise grew louder as the afternoon progressed, particularly when Scholes flew in on Martin Demichelis, the robust challenge prompting minor handbags. Some things never change.
Beckham stole the show, though. There will not be many players before or since who come attached to a hum of anticipation from the crowd.
His delivery has barely altered, still devilish and with that whip, using full backs as a guide. One cross that ended with a Sheringham header well saved was sublime, pinpoint and like being transported back a generation. Another crossfield ball, to Karel Poborsky, drew gasps.
It felt fitting that Beckham, who played the full 90 minutes, was the one racing beyond Bayern’s backline to send the goalkeeper the wrong way and thrash a fifth in front of the Stretford End just before full-time.