The Manchester United Foundation was the big winner as a remarkable 74,343 fans - a record crowd for an Old Trafford friendly - turned up to see a special match between the Reds and Marcello Lippi's select European squad.
Thousands more watched the game live on MUTV Online.
Wayne Rooney set the tone for an entertaining game with the opening goal in the 6th minute, after sprinting through a porous backline to pick up Paul Scholes' sliderule pass.
Europe XI goalkeeper Santiago Canizares raced to meet the Reds striker at the edge of the box but was thrown off-balance by Rooney's fine dummy and then beaten by his cool finish.
Wes Brown doubled United's lead in the 9th minute when he stretched to stab in Ryan Giggs' low cross at the far post. But again the beauty was in the build-up, a drag-back by Giggs fooling Gattuso at the near post following the Reds' short corner.
Two Europe defenders had four United attackers flying at them in the 16th minute but they breathed again when the man in possession Ronaldo drilled a shot wide instead of playing in Rooney, Ji-sung Park or Alan Smith.
Scholes almost claimed his second assist moments later when he picked out Giggs' run and floated a ball onto the Welshman's toe. Only the width of the near post denied Ryan from crowning the move, before a defender blocked Park's rebound effort.