Rio x Owen: These two atmospheres cannot be beaten

Monday 02 October 2023 09:38

Former Reds Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves have reminisced on their memories of playing in the Champions League, including the best atmosphere at an away ground.

Ferdinand and Hargreaves were both part of Manchester United's Champions League-winning squad in 2008, when we famously defeated Chelsea on penalties in Moscow to claim the European trophy for a third time. 

United's former no.5 also represented Leeds United in Europe, reaching the semi-finals in 2001 - the same year our former midfielder won his first Champions League trophy with German giants Bayern Munich.

Both players shared the same opinion when questioned on which European venue away from Old Trafford has the greatest atmosphere.

Ferdinand x Hargreaves: Champions League Memories Video

Ferdinand x Hargreaves: Champions League Memories

Exclusive | From atmosphere to goals, Rio Ferdinand and Owen Hargreaves share their best Champions League memories...

"I always thought Celtic Park was crazy", said Owen sat alongside Rio during an interview with MUTV's Mark Sullivan.

"We've got the same answer", Rio replied.

Hargreaves played at Celtic Park with Bayern in the 2003/04 season with some legendary team-mates, including goalkeeper Oliver Kahn and midfielder Michael Ballack. He described the emotions he felt as the famous Champions League anthem started to play. 

Owen said: "I remember we were there with Bayern and I was pretty experienced - I played a lot in the Champions League. Then the song came on and we were in a line and I remember the stadium just erupted.

"Literally the hairs on my arms stood up and I thought, what is that? All the boys looked at each other in the line like, what is this? We were just stacked full of internationals. Certain stadiums can just grab a game and I felt like that one."

Rio visited Celtic's famous ground on two occasions with the Reds, both in the Champions League group stage - firstly a 1-0 defeat in 2006, before drawing 1-1 in 2008.

The six-time Premier League winner has fond memories of the 2008 game, where he recalls seeing United team-mates Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick's brilliant reaction to the noise generated inside the stadium moments before kick-off. 

"That was definitely mine, I remember Fletch and Carras when the first whistle went off, just before it went off, the roar", Rio explained.

"I remember them both looking back and going, 'oooff!'. It was so loud, I was like, 'wow'.

"That's one game I wish I could have played in during my career - an Old Firm, top-of-the-table clash. I don't care who for." 

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United's next Champions League fixture is against Galatasaray at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, with Erik ten Hag's men looking for our first victory of the group-stages after defeat to Bayern in matchday one. 

The Turkish side have made an unbeaten start to the season with six victories and one draw from seven league games so far, leaving them two points off Turkish Super Lig leaders Fenerbahce.

In Europe, they netted two late goals to rescue a point from their first group-stage game with FC Copenhagen, after falling 2-0 behind in Istanbul.

Watch Rio, Owen and Champions League matches live on TNT Sports this season. 

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