Reliving that historic season 20 years ago became something of a replay for a few of them at Manchester United.
Paul Scholes still has an indifferent relationship with tackling. David Beckham’s right foot still prompts the most excitement inside Old Trafford. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still poaches goals off the bench.
Sunday afternoon served as light relief at United, beating a star-studded Bayern Munich 5-0 on a joyous occasion to celebrate the 1999 Treble and, crucially, raise funds for United’s foundation.
There were flickers of class from the majority out there, noticeably Beckham, and some roar when Solskjaer opened the scoring after only four minutes. He had risen from the bench after just 58 seconds to replace Andy Cole and tapped in Jesper Blomqvist’s centre soon after.
The lack of anxiety inside this stadium made an agreeable change, with more than 60,000 in attendance just enjoying their day, watching the old boys; occasionally laughing at a tumble.
They saw Nicky Butt spritely patrol midfield, Gary Neville pop up in the opposition’s box when least expected, Jaap Stam hammer into attackers. Only Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane were absent.
Sir Alex Ferguson grinned on from the dugout, now occupied by the scorer of Sunday’s first goal. Looking healthy, the 77-year-old beamed when leading the Legends out of the tunnel, waving to the crowd.
The noise grew louder as the afternoon progressed, particularly when Scholes flew in on Martin Demichelis, the robust challenge prompting minor handbags. Some things never change.
Beckham stole the show, though. There will not be many players before or since who come attached to a hum of anticipation from the crowd.
His delivery has barely altered, still devilish and with that whip, using full backs as a guide. One cross that ended with a Sheringham header well saved was sublime, pinpoint and like being transported back a generation. Another crossfield ball, to Karel Poborsky, drew gasps.
It felt fitting that Beckham, who played the full 90 minutes, was the one racing beyond Bayern’s backline to send the goalkeeper the wrong way and thrash a fifth in front of the Stretford End just before full-time.