Michael Carrick thanks fans in emotional Old Trafford testimonial, the 35-year-old former England midfielder is celebrating his 11 years at the club with a star-studded match at Old Trafford in aid of his own foundation in front of 70,027 fans.
Kick-off for the game was brought forward so as not to clash with the One Love Manchester concert being held at the neighbouring cricket ground later in the evening, in aid of the those affected by the suicide bomb attack at the Manchester Arena on 22 May which killed 22 people.
A number of victims’ families were in the Old Trafford crowd, as were about 300 members of the emergency services who dealt with the aftermath of the atrocity.
“Obviously this game has extra significance in the wake of what has happened in the last two weeks,” said Carrick, who laid floral tributes before a minute’s silence for victims of both attacks.
“I’d like to extend my condolences to those affected by the events in Manchester and also those in London. My heart goes out to all those affected and my message is stay together and stay strong.
“On my behalf I’d like to welcome some of the families of the victims. I’d also like to welcome about 300 of the emergency services who were heroic in their efforts in the last couple of weeks.”
Regarding the testimonial he said: “The atmosphere was incredible. There was no way I could have hoped for anything like this. I know we get full houses here every week but it is not something I take for granted and to get so many here today is sensational.
“I have to thank the fans for their support. Let’s not forget we’re back here next season to try to win some more trophies.
“And finally a thank you to Sir Alex [Ferguson], the man who brought me to the club.
“We all know how great he is and his achievements at the club but he’s been a massive influence on my career. Thanks very much boss.”
The former Lazio, Barcelona and Middlesbrough midfielder Gaizka Mendieta’s 22nd-minute goal was cancelled out by Nemanja Vidic’s header for the Manchester United ’08 XI before the half-hour. Midway through the second half Robbie Keane put the All-Stars XI ahead only for Carrick to have the final word.