Owen Hargreaves revealed how the Manchester United players almost fought on the eve of the 2008 Champions League final, in which they then beat Chelsea.
Such was the fierce competitive nature of this team, which contained likes of Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored in the final, that a simple training match was the cause of bankruptcy. .
Things got so hot that boss Sir Alex Ferguson had to intervene after an argument that escalated to the point of a violent explosion, according to Hargreaves.
Manchester United all-star team celebrates Champions League victory in 2008
But the atmosphere in training on the eve of the match was rather less friendly
Carlos Tevez (center) playfully plays teammate Gerard Pique during training at Luzhniki Stadium the day before the final, while Park Ji-sung (left) watches
Cristiano Ronaldo and Wes Brown were two of the other players involved in training – and Owen Hargreaves revealed that some of the United stars had almost had a fight in that session
This happened during training at Luzhniki Stadium, the venue for the Moscow final. Much of this session took place in front of cameras, although the crisis was not filmed. Hargreaves did not name the specific players involved in the row.
Asked by beIN Sport about how Ferguson set the players on fire before the final, Hargreaves said: “He didn’t need it, he knew the boys were ready.
“I remember we had a training match in the Moscow stadium the day before and we almost had a fight between the two teams because the training match was so intense.
Ronaldo scored United’s goal in a 1-1 draw with Premier League rivals Chelsea in the final
John Terry missed a penalty that would have won him for Chelsea in the possible shootout
Chelsea captain cried after slipping while kicking turned out to be crucial
THE 2008 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Brown (Anderson 120), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Hargreaves, Scholes (Giggs 87), Carrick, Ronaldo, Tevez, Rooney (Nani 101)
Unused submarines: Kuszczak, O’Shea, Fletcher, Silvestre
Reserved: Scholes, Ferdinand, Vidic, Tevez
Goals: Ronaldo 26
Chelsea: Cech, Essien, Carvalho, Terry, Ashley Cole, Ballack, Makelele (Belletti 120), Lampard, Joe Cole (Anelka 99), Drogba, Malouda (Kalou 92)
Unused subs: Cudicini, Shevchenko, Mikel, Alex
Sent: Drogba (116)
Reserved: Makelele, Carvalho, Ballack, Essien
Goals: Lampard 45
Man Utd wins 6-5 on penalties
“One team lost and everyone was groaning against the other and Sir Alex had to go in and break it. It was like that. Everyone was so competitive to win.
“Even in a training match, you would think people didn’t want to hurt themselves, but they weren’t. Everyone was right on it. Everyone was so excited for this game.
United and Chelsea fought a 1-1 draw in the final, Ronaldo returning home with the opening goal before Frank Lampard equalized at halftime.
Chelsea was probably the better team for much of the match, but saw Didier Drogba and Lampard hit the woodwork, and Drogba was sent off for slapping Nemanja Vidic, and the trophy had to be won on penalties after 120 minutes of blocking.
Ronaldo’s foul gave Chelsea captain John Terry a chance to win it for his team, but he slipped while taking the kick and hit the post.
This would prove crucial after Nicolas Anelka later saw his kick saved by Edwin van der Sar, leading to famous images of Terry in tears in the rain.
He sealed Ferguson’s second European Cup triumph, and United has failed to conquer Europe since after being beaten by Barcelona in the finals of 2009 and 2011.
Chelsea finally won the competition in 2012, defeating Bayern Munich in a penalty shootout.
The United team was filled with fierce competitors at the time, such as Paul Scholes and Gary Neville
Wayne Rooney in action at the same training session at Luzhniki Stadium
Hargreaves did not reveal which players nearly fought on the eve of the big game