Charlton: They're unstoppable

21 Dec 2008

Sir Bobby Charlton was an extremely contented man following Manchester United's victory in the FIFA Club World Cup final. The 71-year-old won the league title as well as the European Cup with Manchester United in the 1960s, but missed out on intercontinental glory, with the Red Devils losing over two legs to Estudiantes de la Plata in 1968.

As a director of the Old Trafford-based club, United's and England's record goalscorer made the trip to cut a delighted figure as FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter presented Rio Ferdinand with the trophy. Sir Bobby also went into the dressing room with the players in order to congratulate them personally.

With the players singing in the background, he spoke to and gave an insight of what the victory would mean to the players in the coming years.

"It's fantastic," he beamed. "For the rest of their lives they can say: ‘I was the best in the world.' I think the players themselves have just realised what they have achieved. In their job as professional footballers, they have beaten the best in Europe to be champions and now they've taken on champions from the around the world - and beaten them too. This is a sensational thing for them and the entire dressing room is delighted.

"After winning the league and the Champions League, it's been a great year for the club, but it's been capped beautifully tonight by a great performance. The first half was breathtaking and I think that the Japanese fans were in awe of some of the football we produced. Our touch, the way we worked together, plus the chances we created were absolutely fantastic.

"It was a great all-round display. We should have been ahead by two or three goals in the first half - the players were forced to dig in after the sending off, but when they settled down again - there was only going to be one winner. We passed the ball extremely well - and whether you've got ten men or 11 men, if you do things right, you can pass your way out of trouble."

For the rest of their lives they can say: ‘I was the best in the world.' I think the players themselves have just realised what they have achieved.

Sir Bobby reserved special praise for three of United's players after the single-goal success over Liga de Quito, highlighting the contributions made by Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Edwin van der Sar following Nemanja Vidic's 49th minute sending off.

"Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo really stepped up to the plate after the sending off because when they took the ball they knew they had the responsibility to hold it," he continued. "I'm particularly delighted for Wayne. He's had some criticism, but he has been sensational and really deserves his award.

"Edwin made two brilliant saves from 30 yards out - and if one of them had gone in - well, who knows? But it just shows you that everyone has to work hard at this sort of level - and they worked their socks off to produce a result which will satisfy them for the rest of their lives."

Manchester United have had a number of great sides during their 130-year history, but Sir Bobby believes that this edition could perhaps be the best of all time.

"They've proved that they're capable of beating anybody," he smiled. "They have so much quality - and they play as a team. They're unstoppable. They knew it was going to be their day from the beginning."