After the deadly terrorist attack in Manchester, soccer was the last thing on the minds of Manchester United’s players. Before practicing before an upcoming championship match, United gathered for a touching moment of silence, honoring those killed by the horrible May 22 tragedy.
There were very few smiles on the faces of the stars of Manchester United as the team arrived at their training complex in Carrington, Manchester on May 23. The soccer squad was still shocked by the deadly suicide bombing that struck the Manchester Arena the night before. The attack, happening at the end of an Ariana Grande concert, left 64 people injured and more than twenty others dead. With such a tragedy on their minds, the team – including soccer icon Wayne Rooney, 31 – held a moment of silence to send their prayers to the victims before they could focus on football.
“We’re all very sad about the tragic events last night,” United manager Jose Mournho, 54, said, according to The Guardian. “We can’t take out of our minds and hearts the victims and their families. I know, even during my short time here, that the people of Manchester will pull together as one.” Jose said that with the shadow of this attack hanging over his team, they will continue to “do [their] job” and meet Ajax in the Europa League finale in Friends Arena in Sweden on May 24. “It’s a pity we cannot fly with the happiness we always have before a big game,” he said.
“Everyone at Manchester United is deeply shocked by [the] terrible events at the Manchester Arena,” the team said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected, including our supporters, club staff and members of our community such as the children from our Manchester United Foundation partner schools who were attending the concert at the Arena.” Many young people had attended the event, and 8-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos was one of those killed in this despicable attack.
“What happened last night was truly horrific but [it] wont’ break the great city,” former United player Danny Higginbotham, 38, tweeted following the bombing. Paul Pogba, 24, also joined his teammates online to send his “condolences to all the families and victims in Manchester.” United’s crosstown rivals, Manchester City, are also helping in the relief effort, using their Ethiad Stadium as a support center (as United’s ground, Old Trafford, is farther away from Manchester Arena, the site of the terrorist attack.)
The suicide bomber reportedly detonated a “ball bearing bomb,” injuring more than 100 people while killing 12 (12 of which are under the age of 16.) ISIS claimed responsibility for orchestrating this attack, and the authorities arrested a 23-year-old man in South Manchester for his alleged role in the killing. The authorities later identified the suspect as Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old British man with Libyan origins. Four other men have since been arrested in connection with the attack.
Our thoughts continue to go out to all those involved in this tragedy.