In the second installment of FourFourTwo’s ongoing series on some of football’s most famous teams, we’ve tracked down the combatants from Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League victory…
Words by Tio Utomo, Vijhay Vick, Zee Ko, Kritikorn Thanamahamongkhol and James Dampney
Remember when Gary Neville refused to shake Schmeichel’s hand ahead of a Manchester derby in the 2002-03 season? It was a reminder that for some fans, the ‘Great Dane’ is no longer a legend because he played for the Citizens. But still, it’s impossible to forget what he did for the club.
Most fans would probably identify Eric Cantona as the best transfer manager Sir Alex Ferguson made in the 90's, but the argument can easily be made for Schmeichel.
When Cantona retired, they already had a player who could replace him in Roy Keane. But when United lost Schmeichel in 1999, finding a keeper to fill his considerable void continued right up until Edwin Van Der Sar’s arrival six years later.
Between 1991 and 1999, Schmeichel made 292 appearances for United in all competitions, winning five Premier League titles among a host of trophies.
His final United game must have been mixed with so many emotions – conceding a sixth-minute goal from Bayern Munich’s Mario Basler, watching more German shots hit the woodwork, making some important saves before galloping into the box for the corner that led to Teddy Sheringham’s equaliser.
He retired in April 2003 and has worked on and off as a pundit for the BBC and on Danish television in a variety of roles, including hosting a quiz show. His son Kasper plays in goal for Leicester City. – TO
Read on to see footage of Schmeichel living dangerously and United lifting the Cup