It was December 2015, when Manchester United played their last match in the UEFA Champions League – a night that saw them bow out of the competition after a 3-2 loss to Wolfsburg in the final game. The team has since appeared in the Europa League, and also gone on to win it.
However, tonight marks a grand occasion, as Old Trafford readies to welcome back Europe’s most elite competition, as Jose Mourinho’s men take on FC Basel in their return of this season’s Champions League.
With a whole new set of players bought in by Mourinho, and star names starting to shine at the club, the last playing XI that appeared a year and a half back was really different to say the least.
Here is a look into the squad then, and where they are now:
GK: David De Gea – Still with the club, and now the best goalkeeper in the world.
RB: Guillermo Varela – Has gone back to the Penarol in Uruguay after being shown no interest by Mourinho at all.
CB: Chris Smalling – Still at the club, but down the pecking order. However, will be a starter tonight due to other suspensions.
CB: Daley Blind – A position Mourinho does not fancy using him in, with left-back being more likely.
LB: Matteo Darmian – Was injured before half-time against Wolfsburg. Still a Red Devil, and well in the boss’s sights for his versatility.
CM: Bastian Schweinsteiger – A player whose United career came to an end the minute Jose Mourinho became the manager. Now ending his playing days with Chicago Fire in the MLS.
CM: Marouane Fellaini – Surprisingly, an even more important part of the Manchester United setup these days. Doubtful for tonight, a situation that makes the manager feel ‘weak’.
RM: Jesse Lingard – A player loved to be brought on from the bench by Jose. A youngster still, but slowly settling among the big boys.
CAM: Juan Mata – A player who many feared would leave Old Trafford after the managerial change. Things have only looked up for the Spaniard since that day, however, and his contributions remain extremely vital.
LM: Memphis Depay – The next failed Cristiano Ronaldo at the club. He came, he saw, and he left, to Lyon.
ST: Anthony Martial – The lad found it tough last campaign, but seems to be in the mood and in form this time around.
Jose Mourinho does have a few different names to field out tonight, and hence, a better and bigger result will be the least the fans will be expecting.
Written by Vikram Gupta
An attacker with his words, and defends each of them with pride. A love for the game which goes hand in hand with his will to forever write. A graduate in the course of advertising and a hopeful to be author. Herrera for the win.