Whatever the route, reds were flocking to the Spanish capital in numbers many reckoned hadn't been matched since the semi-final against Milan in 2005. It's not hard to see why. As Jose Mourinho put it, it was the tie the whole world was waiting for. Laden with sub-plot, it pitched together the world's most glamorous clubs, and its two best managers.
This was the match everyone was eager to see and it didn't disappoint. Enthralling in the first half thanks to Real Madrid's endeavour, intensity and quality with the ball, it became a more intriguing tactical battle after the break, and although Manchester United will be delighted with the result and an away goal, there were more than enough promising signs from the Spaniards to fill them with confidence ahead of the return leg.
United fans of any generation saw things you people wouldn't believe. The counter-attack versus Bolton, the free-kick against Portsmouth, the Exocet away at Porto, the destruction of Arsenal... Cristiano Ronaldo was the best since Best.
Torino AC, the club so devastated by the Superga Disaster all those years ago, did not place the same emphasis on the continual commemoration and reminiscing employed by Manchester United and its fans worldwide. Perhaps this is why they struggled for so long to regain any sort of pre-eminence.
Aged nine, I discovered the legacy of the 1958 Munich air disaster. I was vaguely aware of the tragedy but despite being a walking United almanac I was not well versed in it. That swiftly changed and suddenly I was able to reel off the names Byrne, Whelan, Pegg, Colman, Bent, Jones, Taylor and Edwards.
While there's no denying that the R's are peppering precariously around the relegation trapdoor, there are some rock-solid reasons QPR can escape the dreaded drop.
GNev is charming. Who knew? He's witty and urbane and more than willing to take the piss out of himself. His insights are relevant and lucid and he the scoring of a goal sometimes brings him to a very loud sexual climax which is nice.
While it may be frustrating sometimes to support a selling club, they are an integral part of the football landscape. If it wasn't for Lille, there'd be no Hazard, if it wasn't for Stuttgart, there'd be no Gomez, and if it wasn't for Monaco, there'd have been no Henry, and so on.
Alex Ferguson routinely pours scorn over the idea of recruitment at this time of year, but he should know more than most that for every Jean-Alain Boumsong or Ricardo Rocha there's a Nemanja Vidić or a Patrice Evra out there waiting to be snaffled up.
It would be difficult to imagine that any other club should have such a long, unbroken run of live TV coverage in their FA Cup ties. On Saturday, they will figure in their 38th consecutive such event. This will be a home tie against Fulham - hardly a game bursting with giant-killing potential.
Another striker is imperative. With Adebayor away, Defoe is effectively the only senior forward at the club and an injury to him would be nothing short of disastrous. Furthermore, over the last few weeks Defoe and Adebayor have shown that they struggle to score when playing together, so even when they are both available options are sparse.
Whatever your opinion of Liverpool, the Premiership is less entertaining when one of its most famous clubs is floundering in mid-table. However, it remains hard to determine which direction the Reds are headed, they are an amalgam of 'ifs, buts, and maybes', with a worrying lack of definitive answers.
Kompany's a great leader and example to others, and I'm sure is professional enough to look at the footage again and realise he can do better next time.
When Sir Alex Ferguson's successor wanders through Old Trafford's creaky managerial doors, he'll feel enough pressure already. It will be a hard enough task as it is; the figurative shadow of Sir Alex Ferguson will loom over the new man from the outset, and that's even if results are good.
After calling Newcastle United a 'wee club in the north east' during the aftermath of a thrilling encounter between the Red Devils and Toon Army, Sir Alex Ferguson recently began to backtrack. Renowned for the mind-games he enters with rival managers, Ferguson responded to comments made by Alan Pardew regarding refereeing decisions in the game at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
Despite my best efforts to write about golfing antics on and off the course in an engaging way, it seems that most of the males I know are completely uninterested. Forget the golf, they say, and write about football instead.