Before kick-off the minuteâ€™s silence for the victims of the Paris attacks was observed impeccably and the mood during the match was suitably light-hearted, but David Beckham revealed there had been concern before this contest between his Great Britain and Ireland XI and a Rest of the World side at Old Trafford went ahead.
The former France internationals Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Vieira dropped out and, after his side won 3-1, Beckham said: â€œThere was slight concern obviously once the news hit last night. It is terribly devastating to see the scenes we saw but unfortunately we have seen those around the world. I think security was very tight in this game and I am sure for a while now security will be heightened at every major sporting game that goes on. It definitely will be looked at.
â€œI understood why Zizou took the decision not to play. I totally understand. He is a friend and a very passionate man. Being French that hit him very hard what happened. On behalf of myself, the managers and the players, we send our condolences to those who have lost loved ones.
â€œParis has always been one of my favourite cities in the world and I have great memories from Paris over the years, not just when I was with PSG. I played my 100th game for England there and the support I had from the French people was amazing. I got a standing ovation. To go back as a PSG player and finish my career there, it has always been a special place. Our condolences to everyone there.â€
A 75,381 sell-out crowd was present at this Unicef game to help the worldâ€™s under-privileged children on a day that was about footballâ€™s ability to unite and cause joy. Ryan Giggs had shown the kind of occasion this was during the warm-up. In a small-space game the Welshman was a whirr of pace and dribbling as the ball stuck to that famous left boot before up went his arms in mock-jubilation to tease the team-mates who could not dispossess him.
When the contest began, a delighted stadium watched Ronaldinho perform step-overs, Beckham pass to his son, Brooklyn, a second half replacement, and Paul Scholes produce a familiar a run-then-header beyond Edwin van der Sar to open the scoring.
Two strikes from Michael Owen after the break were answered by a consolation Dwight Yorke finish, each side featuring a strong Manchester United element thanks to Beckhamâ€™s ongoing love affair with the club. He lined up in a five-man midfield that also included Nicky Butt, Scholes, Darren Fletcher and Giggs, with Phil Neville behind Beckham at rightâ€‘back. On the other side were Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, MikaÃ«l Silvestre, Van der Sar and Ji-sung Park.
Of playing alongside his son, Beckham, who had earlier left the game, said: â€œI wasnâ€™t meant to join him but Sol came off,â€ he said. â€œHaving Brooklyn out there was special. One of my lasting memories is winning the title and walking around with Brooklyn when he was 18 months. It was incredible. Iâ€™m very proud of what we achieved. Itâ€™s been a special day.â€