Man United v Juventus - 3 Classic Encounters

Much like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, Juventus and Manchester United were leviathans of their field at the turn of the millennium, inexorably bound by fate.

Such was the regularity of their star-studded ding dongs, the thought of drawing them yet again caused a 13 year old Gary Neville to make this extraordinary face.

Juve were the Britney of the pair. Things went horribly pear-shaped for the Old Lady around 2006 as they staggered, shaven-headed and wild-eyed, around Serie B after falling in with the wrong crowd.

United's clean cut Timberlake on the other hand, only got bigger in the subsequent years, transcending pop music and clocking up Premier League titles and Champions League final appearances for fun.

A decade on though, the tables have turned a little. Sure, JT’s still a big draw but it’s Britney who’s re-found her sexy streak against the odds. As United head to Turin in desperate need of at least a point, here’s a reminder of three belting ties from their glitzy shared past.

1. Man United 3-2 Juventus, 1997

* 5 goals - CHECK
* 99% of the decade's most iconic players all on the pitch at the same time – CHECK
* Del Piero and Scholes skinning the keepers with absolutely massive ‘SEE YERRRRS’ – CHECK
* Giggs roofing one at the near post – CHECK

2. Juventus 2-3 Man United, 1999

You’ve seen it a dozen times but it never gets old.

3. Juventus 0-3 Man United, 2003

United notched a landmark away victory during that mental second group stage thing they briefly did. Contains one of the very last sightings of Ryan Giggs in full flight, Juan Veron doing something vaguely useful and Ruud Van Nistelrooy finishing his dinner as if there was ice cream for pudding.

The scale of this result can be seen in what subsequently happened. Inspired by Ballon d’Or winner Pavel Nedved, Juve went on to make the final that year, losing to Milan at Old Trafford on pens.

Want to remember some more about that United team? Check out Pete Starr’s love letter to Ruud van Nistelrooy – the glue that bound a team in transition during 5 lean years at United.

Pete Starr
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All Images - PA.

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