This is why Sir Alex Ferguson is a legend.
If John Terry giving Dong Fangzhuo a guard of honour isn’t your all-time favourite Premier League moment then take a moment to re-evaluate.
Back in 2007, the Chelsea captain, along with Claude Makelele, Michael Essien and others, lined up to applaud Man United onto the field before their Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.
United had won the title the week before and so the Blues were obligated by tradition to show their appreciation to the champions.
But rather than Ronaldo, Rooney, Ferdinand, Giggs, Scholes and company basking in the praise, a very different United side received the honour.
How’s this for a line-up…
Sheffield Wednesday fans will recognise right-back Kieran Lee.
This was the Owls midfielder’s only league game for Man United.
Fanghzou is other standout name among the second-string starting XI.
The Chinese forward was on the books at Old Trafford for nearly four years but spent most of his time on loan at Royal Antwerp, where he actually scored plenty of goals.
After leaving United in 2008, he returned to China but buckled under the pressure of expectation and ended up rotting in Dalian Shide’s reserves.
Fangzhou was widely mocked for failing to live up the hype and in 2016 he underwent plastic surgery to his face so that he would be unrecognisable to the teasing public.
Chris Eagles, Kieran Richardson and Tomasz Kuszczak were also flattered by Chelsea’s guard of honour in 2007.
Eagles left Ross County by mutual consent earlier this season, Richardson failed to earn a contract after a trial with Southend, and Kuszczak occasionally frequents the sticks at Birmingham.
It’s fair to say all (except the underrated legend that is Ole Gunnar Solksjaer) are a long way off the dizzying heights achieved by the likes of Ronaldo and Rooney post 2007.
So why did Sir Alex play the reserves?
With the league wrapped, the legendary manager made the FA Cup his top priority.
It just so happens that United were set to play Chelsea at Wembley ten days after their Premier League meeting.
And so Jose Mourinho also rested players, but with Terry, Essien and Makelele in the starting line-up, he didn’t dare go as far as Fergie.
The game ended 0-0 which just goes to show Ferguson’s managerial prowess.
However, Chelsea quickly gained revenge, as Didier Drogba scored late into extra-time in the FA Cup final to deny United the double.
Still, Terry had to give Fangzhou a guard of honour.
And that’s what really matters.