Treble Icons: Peter Schmeichel
Peter Schmeichel famously wore the captain's armband when Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United completed the Treble in 1998/99 and, naturally, the giant goalkeeper is part of our Legends squad that will face Bayern Munich in next month's Reunion match at Old Trafford.
Tickets for the epic showdown on 26 May are still available to buy, with all proceeds going to the Manchester United Foundation.
LET'S HEAR FROM THE MAN HIMSELF
“I’m really looking forward to the occasion at Old Trafford,” says Schmeichel.
“The whole defence has said 'yes' to this match and it’s brilliant. And I’m very, very fortunate that the other goalkeeper is Raimond van der Gouw, probably the fittest 55-year-old man in the world!
“When you achieve something so extraordinary, you need to celebrate it and it needs to be there for everyone to see and be inspired by. What we did back in 1999 has not been done before and not been done since. I’m really looking forward to being there, meeting all the fans the way I used to, and, of course, seeing everybody. That is a great occasion.”
THE STORY OF SCHMEICHEL IN 1998/99
During his famous career at Old Trafford, the Denmark international had established himself as the world’s greatest and most consistent goalkeeper.
But at the start of the season, Peter’s performances had arguably dropped slightly below his impossibly high standards and Sir Alex shrewdly sent him on a short mid-season break to Barbados in January. The result? He returned feeling completely rejuvenated and back to his meticulous best, just in time for the run-in.
Schmeichel finished the campaign with 20 clean sheets to his name, and he also made 56 appearances - which no other United player bettered.
His final outing was against Bayern in the Champions League final, when he famously came close to heading David Beckham's added-time corner that was ultimately prodded home by Teddy Sheringham. After lifting the jug-eared trophy, he headed for pastures new.
PETER'S OUTSTANDING MOMENT
There are two iconic incidents that immediately spring to mind.
Firstly, the incredible 'star-fish' save that stopped Inter Milan striker Ivan Zamorano's diving header and what would have been a game-changing goal in our Champions League quarter-final first leg.
Secondly, the famous double-handed parry that prevented Dennis Bergkamp from scoring his penalty in the FA Cup semi-final replay at Villa Park.
Which one is it? Watch the video below and make your mind up...
Which was Schmeichel's best save in 98/99?Video
United legend Phil Neville...
“My favourite memory from that season is actually an individual moment when Peter saved that penalty against Arsenal, because I’d just given the penalty away! I honestly thought my Manchester United career was over. It was the last minute, and I was tired. I’d actually played really well in the game as well! I literally just collapsed on the floor, brought down Ray Parlour and thought ‘that’s it – it’s been a good career’. And then Peter saved it, and I owe him everything for that.”
#TrebleReunion: Watch our Schmeichel interviewVideo
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE NOU CAMP?
Perhaps no United player has bowed out in a more glorious manner: lifting the Champions League trophy, as a Treble winner and while wearing the armband.
Schmeichel joined Sporting Lisbon that summer and spent two years in Portugal before returning to England, this time representing Aston Villa.
Peter lined up against United for the first time in August 2001 and played again at Old Trafford four months later, when Ruud van Nistelrooy netted the winner in a 1-0 win for the hosts. After two seasons in the Midlands, the keeper made the move back to Manchester, albeit on this occasion with City.
Peter hung up his gloves in 2003, but will put them on again for our upcoming Treble Reunion match on 26 May. Find out more at manutd.com/treblereunion.
Tickets are still available to buy, with all proceeds going to the Manchester United Foundation.