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Wednesday, May 26, 1999 Published at 22:46 GMT 23:46 UK

Sport: Football

Schmeichel goes out with a bang

Head over heels: Schmeichel waves goodbye to United after eight years

For Peter Schmeichel, Manchester United's victory over Bayern Munich in the European Cup final marked the end of an era.

United's treble triumph
The game was Schmeichel's last for the Reds and brought the curtain down on a career spanning more than eight years at the club.

For the Danish goalkeeper, who captained his side in the absence of the suspended Roy Keane, the match was the perfect finale.

[ image: Schmeichel's early mistake could have cost United the game]
Schmeichel's early mistake could have cost United the game
"Not even Hans Christian Andersson could have written a fairytale like that," Schmeichel said after the game.

"Of course you believe you have a chance until the final whistle goes and I never stopped beleiving we had a chance - although I admit, not much of one.

"But the late goals exemplified our team spirit. One thing I have learnt throughout my time at United is that we never give up and we proved that tonight."

Regained his form

Schmeichel announced in November that he was quitting United at the end of the season.

At the time few were surprised. He had made a poor start to the campaign and the club were rumoured to be interested in Aston Villa's Mark Bosnich.

Since Christmas, however, the Dane has been back to his best, helping United end the season unbeaten in 33 matches.

Manager Alex Ferguson paid tribute to Schmeichel, saying: "It is sad that he is leaving us but he could not go out in a better way.

"We wish him well - he's the greatest goalkeeper Manchester United have ever had."

Schmeichel's final act as a United player was to lift the European Cup.

"This is absolutely fantastic for me and I just feel on top of the world," he said.

"When I announced I was leaving at the end of the season I vowed to myself I would do all I could to help the club finish at the top - and you cannot get higher than this."

Schmeichel has not announced what his future plans are or where, if anywhere, he might be playing next year.

"I do not want to talk about other clubs now," he said. "Tonight is the night for Manchester United - Manchester United and champagne."

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