The Premier League was king in Europe in 2007/08.
It was an all-England Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea, while Liverpool had ensured that three of the four semi-finalists were from the Premier League.
United and Chelsea had only just finished slogging it out in the Premier League title race, which went to the final day of the domestic season, before both clubs descended on Moscow’s rain-soaked Luzhniki Stadium to fight for European supremacy.
The final – on 21 May 2008 – was a tight affair. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring with a header, his 42nd goal of an incredible season that would ultimately yield the first of five career Ballon d’Or awards. But Frank Lampard cancelled out the advantage on the stroke of half-time.
Both teams had further chances. Substitute Ryan Giggs saw an effort cleared off the line, while Chelsea twice hit the woodwork. Didier Drogba was also sent off for slapping Nemanja Vidic.
As the rain fell, the game went to penalties. At 2-2, Ronaldo stepped up…and missed. His trademark stuttered run-up didn’t fool Petr Cech, who beat the ball away.
At 4-4, Chelsea had the chance to win it with the last kick, only for John Terry to slip at the crucial moment and see his effort cannon away off the post. Chances are that Drogba would have been taking it had he still been on the pitch.
Each side converted one more each, then Giggs coolly slotted home to make it 6-5. Nicolas Anelka couldn’t match it, with his effort easily parried away by Edwin van der Sar to deny Chelsea and hand United their third European title after 1968 and 1999.
Edwin van der Sar (GK)
2008 was Van der Sar’s second Champions League title, 13 years after he had won his first with Ajax back in 1995. The Dutchman stayed at United until his retirement in 2011, after which he returned to Ajax as marketing director and was later promoted to chief executive in 2016.
Wes Brown (RB)
Brown’s 52 appearances in all competitions in 2007/08 was more than anyone else at the club that season. He left Old Trafford in 2011, playing for Sunderland, Blackburn and Indian side Kerala Blasters before retiring in 2018, and often now appears on MUTV.
Rio Ferdinand (CB)
Ferdinand left United in 2014 after more than 450 appearances in all competitions and 10 major trophies. He briefly played for QPR until 2015 and has since become one of the most prominent football pundits on UK television through his work with BT Sport.
Nemanja Vidic (CB)
Vidic was the United captain who lifted the club’s record breaking 19th league title in 2011, before going on to finish his playing career in Italy with Inter. He has served the club in an ambassadorial role and, still only 38, has taken early steps into a possible coaching career.
Patrice Evra (LB)
A United player until 2014, Evra played in the Premier League as recently as 2018 during a short spell at West Ham. The Frenchman turned out for Juventus and Marseille in between, but in retirement has turned his attention to coaching qualifications and has been studying at United.
Owen Hargreaves (RM)
Injury ended Hargreaves’ career by the age of 31 and he played only four more games for United in three years after Moscow. He was limited to just four appearances during a short stint at Manchester City in 2011/12 and is now a regular pundit for BT Sport.
Michael Carrick (CM)
Carrick was the last surviving member of the 2008 European champions, playing at Old Trafford for another 10 years. His career began to wind down prior to his 2018 retirement, primarily due to a heart problem, but he has remained at the club as a first-team coach.
Paul Scholes (CM)
Scholes retired twice, first in 2011 and then again in 2013 following an 18-month comeback. Famously media-shy during his career, he has become a top pundit, primarily for BT Sport, while he is also a co-owner of Salford City. A managerial career with Oldham lasted only 31 days.
Cristiano Ronaldo (LM)
The foundations for Ronaldo’s whirlwind 2007/08 campaign had been laid the season before. Despite the attention of Real Madrid he was persuaded to stay at United for one more year until an £80m world record move in 2009. Joined Juventus in 2018 after 450 goals for Los Blancos.
Wayne Rooney (FW)
Rooney stayed at United long enough to break Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time club goal record, finishing on 253 in 2017. Went back to boyhood club Everton, before two seasons in MLS with D.C. United, and has since returned to England as a player-coach with Derby County.
Carlos Tevez (FW)
United did not extend his deal beyond 2009, leading Tevez to join nouveau riche Manchester City, winning a Premier League title in 2011/12. The Argentine is currently in his third spell with boyhood club Boca Juniors after also turning out for Juventus and Shanghai Shenhua.
Ryan Giggs – Broke Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time appearance record in 2008 and extended it to 963 by the time he retired in 2014. Briefly became United caretaker boss, then served as assistant manager under Louis van Gaal and is now manager of Wales.
Nani – Nominated for the Ballon d’Or in 2011 but his United career wound down fairly quickly afterwards. Has played for former club Sporting CP, as well as Fenerbahce, Valencia and Lazio, before joining Orlando City in MLS last year. Now 33.
Anderson – Struggled to replicate his impressive debut season at Old Trafford, partially as a result of injury. Left the club for good in 2015 to return home to Porto Alegre in Brazil and join Internacional. Briefly played in Turkey in the 2018/19 season but then retired aged just 31.