Blanc: United fans are magnificent
Lyon boss Laurent Blanc has praised Manchester United supporters and spoken about his fond memories of playing for the Reds, ahead of Wednesday's fixture in Edinburgh.
The match, which kicks off at 14:00 BST at BT Murrayfield, forms an important part of United's preparations for the new campaign and is being shown live on MUTV, like all of our senior men's pre-season games.
Tickets are also still available to see Erik ten Hag's side take on the much-respected French outfit, who include former Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette among their attacking options, and are sure to be tough opponents.
Blanc, who spent two seasons at United and won the Premier League in his final term here, has been enthusing about the high quality of the squad and listing some of the team-mates he enjoyed playing alongside.
When the defender joined us in August 2001, it ended a lengthy pursuit by Sir Alex Ferguson, and the cultured centre-back clearly loved his time at the club.
In response to being asked to pick out his favourite colleague, he told Lyon's official club media: “There are a lot of them. I can't name just one. There are so many. I was there two years.
“Of course, I was [already] a Manchester United fan because I had my good friend who played there, namely Eric Cantona.
“I played with many very, very great players,” he insisted. “I can't name them all because there are so many. [David] Beckham, [Ryan] Giggs, [Paul] Scholes, Roy Keane, Gary and Phil Neville...
“[Also] my French team-mates, because there were quite a few of us back then. Mikael Silvestre, Fabien Barthez. In short, I'd say I experienced a very, very high level in Manchester.”
Blanc remains in awe of Old Trafford and admits that is his single biggest memory of being a Red, as he looks forward to meeting up again with some of our fabulous supporters in Scotland.
“The stadium,” he asserted, in terms of his main recollection. “Amazing. Stade de Reve. The Theatre of Dreams. It is a special atmosphere, it's always full. Whether it's for a match in the league, a cup, a friendly match - it's always full.”
The 1998 World Cup winner added: “They have magnificent supporters. I think playing in the full stadium was one of the highlights of my time in Manchester.”
So, if he could sum up United in one word, what would it be?
“Big,” he declared, in English!
Tickets for United v Lyon at Murrayfield this Wednesday, 19 July at 14:00 BST, are available from Ticketmaster here.