MANCHESTER: Marcus Rashford has paid tribute to his home city on the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombing, which killed 22 people.
On May 22, 2017, Salman Abedi, a British man of Libyan descent, blew himself up outside the venue, which had been hosting a concert by teen pop idol Ariana Grande.
Manchester United and Manchester City adopted the tagline of “a city united” following the atrocity and Rashford has spoken of the devastating impact of the attack.
The United and England striker wrote on his club’s website of his memories of growing up in Manchester and what the city means to him, recalling his own memories of attending events.
“What happened in Manchester on 22 May, 2017, was unimaginable,” he said.
“I won’t forget the moment I found out about the bombing at the Arena. In that moment, I won’t lie, it’s so tough to process. The likelihood of you knowing someone who was directly involved in it is quite high, so it’s a difficult moment.”
United went on to win the Europa League final against Ajax on May 24, dedicating the victory to the victims of the bombing.
“We all spoke about it beforehand in the dressing room before we went out for the final and when the game had finished and we’d won, the first thing we did was make sure we showed our respects for what had happened back home,” Rashford said.
Rashford and teammate Jesse Lingard visited survivors of the attack shortly afterwards.
“We went to put smiles on faces where we could but they ended up helping us and making us smile,” he added. “I really can’t put into words how brave those incredible kids are, how brave all the victims are. I can’t find the words to do them justice.”
The Arena has since reopened and Rashford said his thoughts would always remain with those affected.
“My support still goes out to the victims and their families,” he said. Nobody will ever forget what happened but the way Manchester pulled together shows you everything you need to know about the people here. Seeing how everyone reacted made me so proud to be a Mancunian.”