Michael Schumacher pulled out of Man Utd training after crashing into keeper

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F1 great Michael Schumacher is best known for his speed on the racetrack which brought him seven world titles during an illustrious career.

But the German icon was also a handy footballer, playing around 30 games a season for a Swiss club side, even at the height of his F1 fame with Ferrari. Schumacher also regularly played in charity matches alongside greats like Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane and would often have a kickabout with Ferrari mechanics in the paddock at race weekends.

Schumacher, an energetic midfielder, was given permission to play by then Ferrari team boss Jean Todt. His fame and status meant he was often invited to train with some of the biggest clubs in the world, including Manchester United.

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The German was due to visit United’s Carrington training base in 2004, but unfortunately had to pull out after suffering an injury when he crashed into a goalkeeper while playing for his team in Switzerland, FC Echichens. He had also been due to take part in a penalty competition at Old Trafford, but the collision spoiled his fun.

A disappointed Schumacher said at the time: “I am very disappointed because I was really looking forward to training with the United players. But if I trained with them I would not be able to give it 100 per cent so have had to postpone it.”

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Some training sessions did go ahead though as he was also invited to spend time with Italian clubs Juventus and Bologna, plus the national sides of Germany and Argentina.

However, Schumacher, who was renowned for his supreme fitness levels during his F1 career, expressed his surprise at the lack of intensity in those sessions.

“I was surprised, the training was quite lax,” said Schumacher, per the biography about his life, The Edge of Greatness, written by former ITV F1 commentator James Allen. “I asked myself, ‘Is that it?’ I’ve only just got warmed up.

“But the proper preparation in the winter is far above what I’m used to doing. I cannot imagine being a professional cyclist or footballer. My bones wouldn’t hold out.”

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