Where Are They Now? United’s 08′ Champions League Winning SquadGriffochaz
Man United’s last Champions League success was a memorable one as ‘The Red Devils’ beat Chelsea 6-5 on penalties. A famous night for the club that brought joy to all United fans. We all think we know what happened to our heroes, but to we? Where are the 07/08 Champions League winning squad 12 years on?
Edwin Van Der Sar – Ajax CEO
Van Der Sar is one of the best goalkeepers of his era and we all knew there would be success for the Dutchman in football post-playing career so we can’t really be surprised he is a major part of the youth upbringing happening in the capital of The Netherlands right now.
Ben Foster – Watford
Ben Foster is a very underrated keeper that seems to have been in English football for eternity. Despite not being a focal point of the United team in 08, Foster has found regular starts at Birmingham City and West Brom before becoming Number 1 at Premier League club Watford.
Tom Heaton – Aston Villa
What could have been ay? England have had goalkeeping problems ever since the Seaman days, but The Three Lions thought they found their man in 2018 before an untimely injury ripped Heaton’s World Cup dreams away from him. Now playing his football at Premier League Side Aston Villa, Heaton is a fantastic shot stopper however his main problem remains injuries which he is currently sustaining again. Poor Tom.
Tomasz Kuszczak – Free Agent
The Sergio Romero of 2008, Kuszczak was a reliable man to have in your sticks in the absence of Van Der Sar. However, his career never really took off after that, with spells at Brighton, Wolves and most recently Birmingham, he was a first choice for a while before being released by the championship club amid his contract end in the summer of 2019.
Gary Neville – Sky Sports Pundit
Name a more iconic TV duo than Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville. One of the worlds best right backs of his time has since become 50% of football’s equivalent to Phil and Holly. His “expert” and sometimes controversial analysis has led for classic entertainment alongside rival centre back Jamie Carragher. He also had a stint as Valencia Football Club manager but the less said about that the better.
John O’Shea – Reading First Team Coach
John O’Shea has recently retired from professional football after the 18/19 season at Championship side Reading. His time at ‘The Royals’ earned him a backroom role as a first team coach. Who knows whether we will see John at a top tier club in the future challenging the likes of Frank Lampard and fellow United legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?
Rio Ferdinand – BBC Personality
“Ole’s at the wheel. Man United are back”. It’s hard to believe that a quote from BT Sport’s analysis following United comeback against PSG in February of 2019 is what Rio Ferdinand is most known for following his extraordinary playing career. Rio does pundit work for both BBC and BT Sport as well as becoming a bit of an advocate about single parenting following the death of his wife in 2015. He has done well for himself following a marvel career in the football light with his YouTube channel having over 600,000 subscribers but to mention his failed boxing career that lasted all of 5 minutes would be unfair on Rio.
Mikael Silvestre – Businessman
The first player on this list that has gone away from football after retirement. He spent a year as the director of football of French club Stade Rennes but left by mutual consent. He has since become the president of French charity Les Ecoles de I’Espoir that supports children from poor backgrounds with schooling and teaching of essential life skills. He is also the owner of an award-winning rum business Rhum St Barth which operates out of the Caribbean island of St Barth.
Wes Brown – Coaching
Wes Brown has gone under the radar since football retirement. Apart from a few punditry appearances here and there and gaining UEFA ‘A’ License in coaching, Brown has decided to rest following a mixed career in the United and Sunderland defences.
Craig Cathcart – Watford
Cathcart joins Foster as an ex United player to go into the Watford first team. Cathcart has been at ‘The Hornets’ since 2014 and has been a regular starter up until the last few seasons where his age began to push him away from the starting XI.
Patrice Evra – Personality
Having only officially announced his retirement of July last year, the French left back has had very little time post football. After spells at Marseille and West Ham, he retired from professional football and has since only been seen as a personality on TV in adverts and has recently spoke out about the ongoing problem with racism not just in football but society in general.
Gerard Pique – FC Barcelona
Many forget that one of the best centre backs of the last decade in fact played at United during the 2007/08 season. The summer after the famous Champions League win, Pique left the club to return to Spain and play for Barcelona who he would make over 500 appearances for. His latest contract will take him up to 2022 which could indicate Pique retiring at the club he has played with for over a decade.
Nemanja Vidic – Man United Ambassador
Well it couldn’t say father could it? Nemanja Vidic currently lives in Milan with his wife and three kids and is basically a stay at home dad who drives his three boys around. Vidic also represents United in an ambassador role for United during press events and his name has cropped up over social media in discussions about the Premier League’s greatest ever defender. He has recently revealed a desire to coach in the future.
Michael Carrick – Man United First Team Coach
Michael Carrick could well be the most underrated midfielder in Premier League and English history. One of the most consistent players the PL has seen in recent years has since become more of a United legend by taking up a first team coaching role under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Many may criticise Carrick in his new role however he brings experience to the job and could use his knowledge to develop players like Garner and Gomes amongst others.
Chris Eagles – Free Agent
Chris Eagles may not be a name many are familiar with but he was a young gun in the United squad in 2008. Since then, he has completed a tour of England with spells at Burnley, Bolton Wanderers, Blackpool, Charlton Athletic, Bury, Accrington Stanley, Port Vale and even Scottish club Ross County before a final spell at Oldham Athletic where he mutually terminated his contract to become a free agent.
Anderson – Foreign Relations
What could have been? 2008 not only saw Man United win the Champions League but also Brazilian wonderkid Anderson win the prestigious Golden Boy award, the same award the likes of Lionel Messi, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe have won. However, he didn’t follow in any of those footsteps as he became a regular bench warmer at United before moving on to pastures new in Brazil. He finished his playing career at Turkish side Adana Demirspor and upon announcing his retirement in September of 2019 he stayed at the club in a backroom role as part of foreign relations.
Rodrigo Possebon – Free Agent
Another one that couldn’t fulfil his potential, Rodrigo Possebon will always be looked at fondly by United fans, but his career nosedived following his time at ‘The Red Devils’. A career spanning over 10 years, Possebon has only recorded 37 appearances with a mix of injuries and poor form to blame. After being released by most recent club Athletico Sports Club in 2018, he has neither found a club since nor announced retirement. The Italian is now listed as a free agent.
Darren Fletcher – Pundit
Darren Fletcher is another that is not officially retired but not playing football either. He is working towards his coaching badges as well as being a part of “Deaf Friendly Football” which is a football programme for youngsters with hearing impairments. Unfortunately, the likelihood of Fletcher returning to football is remote due to his illness, ulcerative colitis. Punditry is the likely forward step for the Scotsman having already dipped his toes into BT Sport analysis.
Darren Gibson – Salford City
From a Scottish Darren to an Irish Darren, Gibson has been a staple of English football for the past decade, experiencing the ups and downs on the Football League. Staying at United since 2012, he then moved onto the blue part of Merseyside and joined Everton for 5 years where he was in and out of the starting XI. He then spent a year at ‘The Black Cats’ and a year at Wigan Athletic, both former Premier league outfits that have diminished over the last few years. He is now part of the Man United by-product team Salford City owned by various United legends. It is likely that he will end his career at the Greater Manchester club.
Paul Scholes – Salford City Owner
Speaking of Salford City, one of it’s owners Paul Scholes has had a phenomenal career spending all his 20 years at United. Many are quick to criticise Paul for his less than enthusiastic personality, but this hasn’t stopped the English great from multiple punditry jobs with BT and BBC which have drawn praise from fans saying his style of analysis is “truthful and no nonsense”. With all these legends, there is a part of their post football career they wish to forget and I’m sure Scholes’s will be his less than monumental 31-day managerial spell at football league side Oldham Athletic.
Ryan Giggs – Wales Manager
Probably one of the most known paths taken by any of these players has been walked by United and Welsh great Ryan Giggs. What hasn’t Giggs done? Own a football club, check. Manage Man United, yet not for long, check. Punditry, check. Ryan is now the manager of the Welsh national team and has been for 2 years. He has a real look about him in the dugout and could prove to become a future league winning manager.
Owen Hargreaves – Pundit/Commentator
Another BT Sport signing from the United ranks, Hargreaves has offered his analysis and commentary for both English and other European football for over 3 years. His unique mix of German, Canadian and English makes for a soothing voice that provides viewers with an experienced look into each game he commentates on. His skills in the booth may divide opinion but no one can doubt his knowledge when it comes to football even if he spent more time in the medical room than the pitch.
Sam Hewson – Fylkir
Sam Hewson is a name only a few will know as he didn’t appear for United once despite being a part of a Champions League winning squad. He has since played all over Europe landing himself at Icelandic multi-sport club Fylkir where he has at least appeared for the club.
Lee Martin – Exeter City
Lee Martin beats Sam Hewson in terms of appearances for United as Martin racked up a total of one while at United. Another squad player that has gone from a Champions League winning team to a lower tier club, Martin currently plays for Exeter City. At least he is getting more game time at the League Two side.
Ji Sung Park – Global Ambassador
Yet not a legend however Ji Sung Park is a fan favourite and an all-round top guy. Another consistent performer than may not have won him many legendary statuses but definitely won him the love and respect from the Manchester massive. Park has since become a global ambassador for United and does charity work almost every day. He most recently donated to South Korean victims of the Coronavirus. He is a man I’m sure we would all like to meet one day.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus
Whatever happened to Cristiano Ronaldo? I wonder where he is now. Jokes aside, CR7 is without doubt one of the greatest players to ever grace the football pitch and he can tip Man United as being a big part in that. Totalling 5 Ballon d’or wins, the Portuguese is nothing far from a global icon to which we all know the path he has taken to reach that status. After many successful years at Real Madrid he went to Italy to play for giants Juventus. A career of the upmost glory. A world beater for sure.
Wayne Rooney – Derby County
Wazza survived the MLS. That is something that isn’t said lightly. The retirement home of football welcomed Wayne Rooney into its arms when he signed for DC United in 2018. We all thought we saw the end of Rooney in England before he decided to return to the EFL with Derby County in a player coach role. A staple of English football is back where he belongs, but his years are well and truly behind him and I wouldn’t be surprised if we are witnessing the last few months in the career of the United legend.
Dong Fangzhuo – Coach
I would forgive you for asking yourself who on earth is Dong Fangzhuo and listing him after Ronaldo and Rooney may do him a slight injustice. Dong was the first ever East Asian player signed for United back in 2004 where he stayed to total a single appearance for the club. The last anyone has heard of Dong; he was coaching kids for his own football club which is creatively known as “The Dong Fangzhuo Football Club”. No that is not made up. I’m sure in some sort of alternative reality, Fangzhuo is lifting a World Cup as we speak.
Nani – Orlando City
Loved. Underrated. Talented. Just a few words used to describe Luis Nani’s career. Another fan favourite, Nani’s pace and skill won him a glorious yet non appreciated career at United. Scoring 25 goals in 149 appearances for ‘The Red Devils’, Nani is a victim of the overlooked brigade, but he moved onto Turkey and Spain before jetting across the pond to Orlando. His career is wearing thin, but I hope when he retires, he is looked back on as a talented player that more should have appreciated.
Danny Welbeck – Watford
Talk about coming in at the right time, Danny Welbeck came onto the scene in United a few months prior to winning the Champions League. I’m sure many would like to go back to experience the feeling United fans felt when Welbeck first came onto the public scene. Unfortunately, his career didn’t match onto the expectations of many and after a decent spell at United, moved onto Arsenal before joining Foster and Cathcart at what is turning out to be a Man United second team Watford side. Injuries have hit Welbeck hard which could be the reason his career never fulfilled the potential we all had set out for the English striker.
Louis Saha – Pundit
One takeaway from this article is that punditry is a very popular art for former United players. Despite Louis Saha not making much noise post football, he has appeared on Sky Sports and ITV to provide analysis for games. For his few appearances he has made, his punditry has turned many eyes and ears. Saha has also joined fellow French international Patrice Evra in speaking out on racism. Let’s hope we see more of Saha on our screens in the near future.
Carlos Tevez – Boca Juniors
I’m sure I’m rattling a few United fans by even mentioning Tevez’s name but like him or not he was a key part of the United squad during the 08 season. After his semi successful time at United, Carlos caused major controversy when he joined rivals Man City in a move that many ‘Red Devil’ fans have a very outspoken opinion on. Putting that aside, Tevez may surprise a few by still playing football and what feels like an age of 63 at his point. He returned to his boyhood club Boca Juniors in 2018 where he looks to be winding down his very good but very highlighted career.
Carlos Queiroz – Columbia Manager
United’s assistant manager from 2008 has made quite a good career from his Champions League win. He has since managed Real Madrid, in between two assistant spells at United, Portugal, Iran and now Colombia. Carlos was a bit part of the management in 2008 and no one will be surprised to see him lead a successful managerial career in the spotlight.
Sir Alex Ferguson – Man United Consultant
The very definition of a club legend is Sir Alex Ferguson. Without doubt the greatest manager to ever do it, winning a total of 13 league titles for United not to mention 4 League Cups and 5 FA Cups and of course 2 Champions Leagues in 1999 and 2008. In 2018, SAF had surgery on his brain following a haemorrhage and has been recovering ever since. Thankfully, Ferguson is feeling well again due to the amazing work of the NHS and has taken up a consultancy job behind the scenes at United. This means he is working closely with Solskjaer after playing a part in getting the Norwegian at the club. Ferguson along with the coaching staff look to restore the glory days back to Manchester United.