Man United and Real Madrid were honoured with the presence of none other than Ronald McDonald at their pre-season friendly in California on Sunday.
The flame-haired mascot attracted a bemused reception from football fans across the pond in Europe, as America’s most famous clown led the players onto the pitch at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
Ronald’s appearance proved funny for some:
What a great day for sport today,cricket, cycling, golf...then I see Ronald McDonald lead out Real Madrid & Man Utd in a friendly match😂🏌🏏🚴🍔— James Phelps (@James_Phelps) July 23, 2017
my only disappointment in this Real Madrid/Man Utd thing is Ronald McDonald is not refereeing it— 🥚 Egg Boy fan club member 🥚 (@BoredXCore) July 23, 2017
While for others the opportunity to advertise the world’s biggest fast food joint didn’t quite fit the tone of the beautiful game:
But perhaps the overriding feeling among fans of all nations was pure, unadulterated confusion.
Ronald McDonald is leading the teams out in the Man United Real Madrid game.
I don't even know what to say about football any more. pic.twitter.com/CTBuRJTMci— Coral (@Coral) July 23, 2017
I'm lovin it?— Elliott (@ElliottAvis_) July 23, 2017
Whatever the reaction off the pitch, Ronald’s appearance didn’t seem to phase Jose Mourinho’s United, who went on to clinch victory in a penalty shoot-out after the match ended in extra time with a 1-1 draw.
Ronald McDonald the mascot at United vs Real Madrid, now I have definitely seen it all— Sam Garner (@Samgarnerx) July 23, 2017
The odd spectacle of Ronald McDonald charging onto the pitch may be the most American way to start a football game without actually employing a walking, talking apple pie in his stead, but the friendly clown did at least show his respect by shaking the players’ hands before the game commenced.
As far as 1960s advertising characters go, Ronald was pretty polite.