Manchester United capped an incredible 2008 with victory in the Club World Cup final, beating Ecuadorian side LDU Quito 1-0 thanks to Wayne Rooney’s strike.
United qualified for the competition after winning a dramatic Champions League final over Chelsea, adding the continental crown to the Premier League title.
And Sir Alex Ferguson’s side became club champions of the world after a hard-fought victory over their South American opponents in Japan.
We’ve taken a look back at United’s moment of triumph in Yokohama and investigated what their winning XI are up to 15 years later.
GK: Edwin van der Sar
Van der Sar won the Premier League four times at United and is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in Premier League history.
After retirement he returned to Ajax, where he took up the role of chief executive in 2016 and helped build the side that took the Champions League by storm three years later.
In July 2023, weeks after leaving Ajax, Van der Sar was admitted to intensive care in hospital after suffering a brain haemorrhage. Thankfully, he continues to make a full recovery.
RB: Rafael (Gary Neville 85′)
Rafael joined United in 2008 along with his twin brother Fabio, although it was the right-back who was first given a chance by Ferguson.
On the opening game of the 2008-09 season, Rafael was handed his Premier League debut in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle at Old Trafford. The Brazilian became a real cult hero during his time in Manchester as he collected eight trophies along the way.
He also enjoyed a successful spell with Lyon and spent one season with Turkish outfit Istanbul Basaksehir in his post-United career. Now 33, the defender is playing out his final days back in Brazil with Botafogo.
As for Neville? It’s impossible to turn on the television without seeing his face these days…
📝 𝗗𝗘𝗔𝗟 𝗗𝗢𝗡𝗘: Gary Neville is the new Dragon on Dragon's Den. 🐲
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) October 17, 2023
CB: Rio Ferdinand
Another unavoidable presence across the football media these days, Ferdinand has carved out a very successful punditry career after hanging up his boots in 2015.
The centre-back won a further three league titles at Old Trafford, before a forgettable final season at Harry Redknapp’s QPR.
CB: Nemanja Vidic
Despite being one of the best defenders in the club’s history, Vidic didn’t cover himself in glory against LDU Quito as he was sent off for lashing out with an elbow at Claudio Bieler.
He compensated for this brainfart by winning a further three Premier League titles at Old Trafford before leaving in 2014. The big Serbian saw out his playing career with a comparatively forgettable 18-month stint at Inter Milan.
He recently stated his intention to run for presidency of the Serbian FA after criticising the current regime, but withdrew from the race a few weeks later.
LB: Patrice Evra
While Evra won two Serie A titles with Juventus after leaving United, he also got released by Marseille and had a forgettable three months at West Ham.
Since retiring in 2019, he’s gained his coaching qualifications and has often been a hugely entertaining, if occasionally nutty, pundit in the Sky Sports studio.
The former defender also speaks out against child sexual abuse as a UN ambassador and uses his social media presence to fight racism in sports.
RM: Park Ji-sung
Park spent seven years at United before joining QPR in 2012, but injury problems plagued his time in west London.
After hanging up his boots in 2014, he studied at Leicester’s De Montfort University and graduated with an International MA in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport.
And, in December 2021, Park rejoined QPR, coaching the under-16s under the guidance of technical director Chris Ramsey.
But he’s now returned to South Korea to become technical director at Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. United fans still idolise their tenacious Korean…
CM: Michael Carrick
Carrick enjoyed an incredible career at United, winning five Premier League titles, the Champions League, the Europa League, the FA Cup and two League Cups.
The midfielder joined the coaching staff at Old Trafford after retiring in 2018 but left the role following a brief spell as caretaker manager in 2021.
He’s now the manager of Championship outfit Middlesbrough, leading them to the play-offs last season. Despite their inconsistent form, it’s not impossible that Boro will repeat the feat this year.
CM: Anderson (Darren Fletcher 88′)
A former Golden Boy winner, Anderson finished his playing career at Turkish second division club Adana Demirspor and retired at the age of 31. He now works for the club as the assistant manager of their youth team.
Meanwhile, Fletcher remains at Old Trafford as United’s technical director.
His two sons, Tyler and Jack, are members of United’s academy but each represents different countries at the international level – Tyler has chosen Scotland, while Jack has played for England’s youth teams.
LM: Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo is still banging in the goals at 38 – he’s genuinely one of the greatest athletes of all-time.
ST: Carlos Tevez (Jonny Evans 51′)
Tevez made a career out of scoring fabulous goals and managing to become public enemy just about everywhere during his time on the pitch.
United fans certainly don’t hold him in high regard after his controversial move to Manchester City in 2009.
Known by many as an extraordinary player but one who lived by his own rulebook, Tevez is now manager of Independiente in his native Argentina. They finished 24th out of 28 teams in the 2023 season.
Evans rediscovered his best form after leaving United in 2015, impressing for both West Brom and Leicester City.
He made over 100 appearances for the Foxes and helped them win the FA Cup for the first time in their history, but few expected him to end up back at Old Trafford.
And even fewer expected him to play an important role in the club’s defence at the age of 35. But that’s exactly what’s transpired this season. Not many stranger things have happened.
ST: Wayne Rooney
A boyhood Everton fan, Rooney sealed the Club World Cup for United with a neat finish into the bottom corner 17 minutes from time.
He went on to become the record goalscorer for both club and country, despite his career being strangely underrated by some harsh observers.
After a half-decent return to Goodison Park in 2017, he spent a couple of seasons in MLS with DC United before ending his playing career with Derby County.
He’s since gone into management and following spells with DC United and Derby, he managed to land the Birmingham City job in October.
It’s certainly not been smooth sailing for Rooney at St. Andrew’s so far as he’s won just two of his first 11 games in charge.
OTD 08 – Bring on the Martians! Wayne Rooney's goal is enough to beat Liga de Quito, and United are champions of planet Earth. pic.twitter.com/vxFVupJG4F
— United Rewind (@unitedrewind) December 21, 2022