Manchester United and Atletico Madrid meet in the Champions League for the first time in decades in what promises to be an intriguing European encounter.
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As Manchester United and Atletico Madrid prepare to face off in the Champions League, there is one man who has a link to both clubs.
A goalie of such grace and elegance that he is revered by many and possesses a trophy cabinet to prove it, while both sets of supporters would recount his brilliance for years to come.
That is not David de Gea… that is Ricardo.
After joining United from Atletico Madrid in 2002, the Spaniard experienced a rollercoaster ride at the club, despite making only one Premier League appearance during his three years at Old Trafford.
Ricardo made quite an impression in that encounter against Blackburn Rovers in April 2003, nearly a year after leaving Real Madrid.
At halftime, Fabien Barthez was replaced by the goalkeeper, who made an immediate impact with his first touch of English football, dragging Andy Cole down.
Ricardo, on the other hand, transformed from villain to hero in seconds after saving David Dunn’s ensuing penalty as the Red Devils strolled to victory.
Ricardo’s polar opposite Brad Friedel made many outstanding stops as Paul Scholes and Ruud van Nistelrooy each scored twice in a 3-1 victory over Rovers.
At the time, United was fighting on two fronts, playing Real Madrid in the Champions League and Arsenal in the Premier League.
The Red Devils were up against it after losing the first leg to Real Madrid, but they produced an unbelievable classic in front of a sold-out Theatre of Dreams crowd at Old Trafford.
United won 4-3, but it was not enough to overturn the first leg, while Ronaldo put on a fantastic display with an unbelievable hat-trick while Ricardo remained on the bench watching history unfold.
However, the Red Devils would taste triumph when they overcame Arsenal to win the Premier League, allowing Ricardo to raise the trophy despite only appearing in 45 minutes of Premier League action.
Six years ago, when the former Spain Under-18 international was finally named to Atletico Madrid’s starting lineup, he had a similar narrative.
Ricardo only appeared in La Liga once for the Rojiblancos during his eight-year stint, in a 3-2 win over Real Zaragoza in June 1997.
He was, however, a member of the victorious side that won the Copa del Rey in 1996, defeating Barcelona in the final, and he would go on to make two international appearances for Spain against Mexico and Hungary.