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Page last updated at 21:24 GMT, Thursday, 22 May 2008 22:24 UK

Jubilant Man Utd arrive back home

Ryan Giggs arrives in Manchester
Ryan Giggs shows off the Champions League trophy

Manchester United are back in the UK after their thrilling win over Chelsea in the Champions League final.

Their plane touched down in Manchester at 2130 BST, with the players carrying both the Champions League and Premier League trophies down the steps.

The United squad celebrated their win well into the morning at their hotel in Moscow, delaying their departure.

A more subdued Chelsea team arrived back in London earlier in the day.

In a dramatic final, Manchester United took the lead through Ronaldo before Frank Lampard equalised for Chelsea.

It went down to penalties, with John Terry missing the chance to win it for Chelsea before Edwin van der Sar saved Nicolas Anelka's spot-kick to take the trophy.

The United players are unlikely to be able to show off their Champions League and Premier League trophies in an open-top bus parade through the streets of Manchester.

The violence involving Rangers fans in Manchester after last week's Uefa Cup final put the plans in doubt, but United chief executive David Gill said discussions would be ongoing to see if the situation could be salvaged.

David Gill promises there will be a celebration in the summer

"We were planning for it but unfortunately some of the issues that came out of the Uefa Cup final meant that after discussion with the council and the police it was decided it wasn't appropriate to have one," Gill told BBC Sport.

"We will continue those discussions and see what can be done over the course of the summer to appropriately celebrate a fantastic season for the club.

"It is disappointing but we have to take the advice of the authorities."

Greater Manchester Police assistant chief constable Dave Thompson said that a review had decided that a parade would be a safety risk.

"It is right and fitting that United's fans should have the chance to celebrate the club's success this year, but they should do this in safety," he added.

Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson present Ryan Giggs with a specially enscribed watch to mark his club record of appearances
Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson present Ryan Giggs with a specially inscribed watch to mark his club record of appearances

"The last major homecoming event was in 1999 where there were serious safety issues raised regarding the risks of crowd crush. Man Utd is the biggest football club in the world and we believe any event would attract more people than in 1999.

"We have agreed to work towards an event in the summer where those celebrations could take place in safety."

United centre-back Nemanja Vidic said the players would have loved the opportunity to celebrate their success with the thousands of fans unable to make the trip to Moscow.

"This is a good moment to celebrate with the fans and to say thank you to them for what they have done for us this year," he told BBC Sport.

"To be honest, we are a little bit disappointed about this."

With the match not kicking off until 2245 local time in Russia, the United players had to wait until the early hours of the morning to make it back to their hotel and kick off their celebrations.

Nemanja Vidic says the players are disappointed there will be no parade at home

A poignant moment saw United legend Sir Bobby Charlton make a presentation of a specially inscribed watch to Ryan Giggs in recognition of the Wales international's new club appearance record.

Giggs, who scored what proved to be the decisive penalty in the nail-biting shoot-out at the end of the match, finally overtook Charlton's long-standing record when he came off the bench for his 759th game for United.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson made a speech to thank everybody for their efforts over the course of a glorious season, while the club also invited several survivors of the 1958 Munich air crash to share the moment.

Gill said the club's staff and players had made the most of the chance to let their hair down.

"It was a great party and a great end to a fantastic evening," said Gill.

"I got to bed at about seven o'clock (in the morning). Let's say, I wasn't the last to leave the party."

Full-back Wes Brown said he had got just one hour's sleep, while Vidic admitted he had not even had as much as that.

And 17-year-old striker Daniel Welbeck, a non-playing member of the 24-man United squad which travelled to Moscow, had to get a taxi to the airport after oversleeping and missing the already delayed team coach.

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Many of the players will get little time to reflect on their triumph or disappointment, with the likes of United's Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrice Evra and Chelsea's Ricardo Carvalho and Michael Ballack set to link up with their national squads ahead of Euro 2008.

"We will celebrate now but after the 24th I must start thinking about the European Championship," said Ronaldo.

Evra added: "It was good, I didn't really party a lot because after Friday I need to go with the national team. I don't drink alcohol anyway."

England failed to qualify for the tournament, but Fabio Capello's side do have a friendly against the USA on 28 May at Wembley and another against Trinidad and Tobago on 1 June.

Lampard's future at Stamford Bridge has been the subject of intense speculation, but the England midfielder said he would restart talks with the club after the friendlies.


see also
Champions League photos
21 May 08 |  Europe
Ferguson delight at Euro success
21 May 08 |  Man Utd
Ronaldo future remains uncertain
22 May 08 |  Man Utd
Comment: Ferguson fuelled by fate
22 May 08 |  Football
Ferguson's ascent to greatness
21 May 08 |  Man Utd
Grant can hold his head high
22 May 08 |  Europe


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