THERE hasn’t been much pain against Spain for John O’Shea in his 14 years of doing battle with Spanish teams at all levels.
In his entire career, O’Shea has faced Spanish opposition on 11 occasions, with Ireland’s underage teams and on Champions League duty for |Manchester United, and his record is won four, drew three, lost four.
The first time he came up against a Spanish side, the end result was a sweet one as Brian Kerr’s Ireland U16 side beat Spain 1-0, with a goal from Dubliner David McMahon, to advance to the quarter-finals of the European Championships in Scotland, a tournament Ireland would go on to win.
O’Shea faced up to the |Spanish again in an U17 tournament in South Africa in 1999, but this time Spain gained revenge with a 3-1 win, where Iker Casillas was one of Spain’s stars on the day.
In 2002, O’Shea played his first Champions League game against a Spanish side, Manchester United playing Deportivo La Coruna (W 2-0, L 0-2).
But O’Shea got a real taste of the glamour involved with Spain when he played in both legs against Real Madrid. Goals from Luis Figo and Raul (2) gave Real a 3-0 lead in Madrid, though Ruud van Nistelrooy got a goal back, but O’Shea started in a memorable home leg where United won 4-3 on the night when David Beckham (2) and Ronaldo (3) traded goals but Real won 6-5 on aggregate.
O’Shea then played five games for United against Villareal, Barcelona and Valencia, with just one defeat, a 2-0 win for Barca in 2009.