FANS were left bemused about the state of modern football after Ronald McDonald led out Manchester United in their pre-season friendly against Real Madrid in California.
Most modern clubs have their own mascots, such as Fred the Red at United and Arsenal’s Gunnersaurus.
But the face of fast food restaurant McDonald’s was a surprise flag bearer as the two sides were led out at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, the home of the San Francisco 49ers.
The two teams might have been playing in the home state of the world-famous burger restaurant, but football traditionalists were reluctant to accept the marketing ploy.
In fact, the painted face and red wig of Ronald McDonald just looked downright bizarre on a football pitch, as he picked up the match ball and strode on to the field.
One wag wrote on Twitter: “If ever lost hope in life, just know that Ronald McDonald got to shake hands with some of the best players in the world.”
But no doubt the stunt worked for the corporation, because it certainly got people talking on social media.
When fans had rubbed their eyes and focused on the action, there was, of course, a football match to be played between two of the world’s most popular sides, which ended with United winning on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
And United made a good account of themselves against European champions Real Madrid, taking the lead in first-half stoppage time.
Anthony Martial danced through the Los Blancos defence on the byline as he cut the ball across to Jesse Lingard, who made it 1-0 to United.
And then in the second half new signing Victor Lindelof made a challenge on Theo Hernandez that was so late, the referee had no choice but to award a penalty.
But there was still time for Ronald McDonald to prove he was not the only one wearing clown shoes to take to the pitch.