Manchester United and rivals City have come together in support for those caught up in last night’s sickening terror attack.
At least 22 people including children have died after a male suicide bomber targeted an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.
Club icons on both sides of the divide including Wayne Rooney, Phil Neville, Vincent Kompany and Raheem Sterling joined together to offer support to the families affected.
And British sporting heroes such as England legend Gary Lineker, former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan and world No 2 golfer Rory McIlroy all expressed their shock and outrage.
United’s official twitter account posted to its 11.2million followers: “We are deeply shocked by last night’s terrible events at the Manchester Arena. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected.”
And City posted: “It’s with great sadness we hear of the terrible events at the Arena. Our hearts go out to all affected and to our city’s emergency services.”
United’s all-time leading goalscorer Rooney said: “Devastating news this morning. Thoughts and prayers with all those affected.”
Club legend David Beckham said: “Heartbreaking news from Manchester. As a father and a human what has happened truly saddens me.
“My thoughts are with all of those that have been affected by this tragedy.”
Neville, part of United’s Class of 92, tweeted a picture with the message: “We will not be defeated, we will stand strong, we are Manchester.”
Current City captain Kompany said: “I would like to express my deepest condolences to the familes of the victims. It’s a sad day for the great city of Manchester. #Unity.”
United midfielder Jesse Lingard posted: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by last night’s attack on this beautiful city. We will stand together in this dark hour.”
Team-mate Michael Carrick said: “My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the sickening attack that happened here in Manchester last night.”
And fellow Red Henrikh Mkhitaryan posted: “Stay strong Manchester! My thoughts are prayers are with all those affected by last night’s horrible attack.”
City striker Gabriel Jesus quoted Manchester City’s tweet and put a sad face emoji next to one of hands joined in prayer.
And team-mate Sterling wrote: “Shocking events for this great city. My thoughts and prayers are with the families.”
Former Reds defender Rio Ferdinand said: “My thoughts and prayers are with all the familes and friends affected by last night’s attack in Manchester.”
Daley Blind wrote: “Can’t believe what happened last night. My thoughts go out to all those affected.”
Ex-Man City forward Edin Dzeko tweeted: “My heart and prayers go out to all involved in the Manchester tragedy.”
Old Trafford’s longest serving skipper Bryan Robson wrote: “Such sad news what has happened in Manchester.”
Mikael Silvestre, who spent nine years with United, posted: “Devastating news in Manchester. My thoughts and prayers with all families involved.”
Club hero Paddy Crerand said: “Praying for the victims, injured and their families of my city.”
Former United keepers Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar also posted messages.
Schmeichel wrote: “My thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones in the attack at Manchester Arena. #StayStrongManchester.”
Van der Sar put: “My heart and respect goes out to the people who lost their lives or loved ones in yesterday’s attack in Manchester.”
And ex-Red Devil Michael Owen said: “So sad to hear of the tragic news from Manchester especially when it involves so many children. Thoughts are with everyone affected.”
Lineker said: “Truly awful news from the great city of Manchester. Thoughts are with all those affected.”
McIlroy tweeted: “This makes me so angry and sad at the same time. Thoughts and prayers with everyone in Manchester at this horrific time.”
SunSport columnist Danny Higginbotham promised the city would stay strong.
He said: “I’m a proud Manchester lad. What happened last night was truly horrific but won’t break the great city. Thoughts with all affected.”
Vaughan posted: “Completely numb. Thoughts with all the familes affected.
“Enough is enough. Now we must lock up or kick out of this country any known or anyone linked to any Islamic extremists!”
Fellow Ashes hero Freddie Flintoff tweeted: “Sickening news to wake up to, lots of love, thoughts and prayers to all affected by the attack in Manchester.”
England rugby star Danny Care said: “Disgusting cowards. Can’t believe what I’m reading this morning. Thoughts and prayers with everyone involved.”
Ajax, who United face in the Europa League final tomorrow night, sent a touching message to their opponents.
The Dutch club’s official Twitter account posted: “From Amsterdam with love to Manchester. Our thoughts are with the victims and the loved ones of those affected.”
The FA confirmed England’s Under-20s will wear black armbands in their World Cup campaign, tweeting: “Today our thoughts are with the people of Manchester – a city of pride, passion and hope that welcomed us so warmly this time last year.
“Our Young Lions will remember the victims of the attack in Manchester when we take on Guinea.”
Meanwhile, Uefa confirmed the Europa League final in Stockholm will go ahead, but with “increased security in wake of Manchester attack”.
A statement said: “There is currently no specific intelligence which might suggest that any of the Uefa Europa League final activities in Stockholm may be the target of attacks.
“Uefa has been closely working with local authorities and the Swedish FA fir many months and the terrorist risk had been taken into account since the very beginning of the project.
“Due to the tight security arrangements, Uefa urges fans to arrive at the stadium as early as possible, as detailed checks will be made at the entrances, resulting in potential delays in accessing the stadium.”