When the Spaniards arrived at Old Trafford on Thursday April 25, 65,000 hopeful and expectant supporters turned out to see whether the "Babes" could hit the headlines for the right reasons.
"As a 12-year-old schoolboy, the whole event was magical and sometimes very bewildering," United supporter John White told CNN.
"For starters, our English game was a very much more physical contact game than our European cousins played.
"We could not understand their propensity to fall over so readily -- yes, sad to say, even the great virtuosos of that sparkling Madrid side that won the European Cup five times in a row were not above developing an attack of the 'personal wobbles' when it was convenient."
Just as it is now, some 56 years later, Real was the richest club in the European game and scoured the world over for the most talented players.
United's team contained just two players -- Ray Wood and Tommy Taylor -- who had commanded a fee, with the club hamstrung in terms of finance following the Second World War, forcing it to nurture talent from the famous Academy, which former chairman James Gibson had founded during the club's financial struggles.
The "Babes" had already proved to be the most talented side of their generation within the domestic game but their lack of experience was cruelly exposed against a "streetwise" Real.
"Nobody in England was aware about just how good Real Madrid was at the time," said Clare, who was at Old Trafford as a youngster that day.
"However, despite their fantastic lineup, United's 'Babes' were a match for them -- apart from experience.
"That was the difference between the two teams. There was a big difference in the average age between the teams -- United's was 22 and Real's was 29," added Clare.
Blunt the blade
The contest, according to the editorial in the Manchester Guardian, would rest on whether United could "blunt the edge of the sharpest club attack in Europe."
Busby's team had overturned a two-goal deficit in the quarterfinal, winning 3-0 at home to Athletic Bilbao after losing 5-3 in the first leg in Spain.
In Dennis Viollet and Tommy Taylor, United had two forwards who had already terrorized defenses across the continent, plundering goals for fun.
But it was young winger David Pegg who had caused Real the most problems in the first leg, causing the Spaniards to take Manuel Torres on loan in place of Jose Becerril.
Torres, considered to be one of the hardest men in Spanish football at the time, was given the task of nullifying the threat posed by the 21-year-old winger.
It did the trick, too. With Pegg nullified, the attacking prowess of the great Di Stefano, the technically supreme Kopa and the effervescent Rial, Real were far too strong, even with the mud bath of a pitch.
The presence of Di Stefano, the European Footballer of the Year in 1957 and 1959, was an almighty treat for those packed inside Old Trafford.
It led to the Manchester Guardian heaping praise on one of the most talented players of his generations, comparing him to legendary orchestra conductors of the day -- Thomas Beecham and John Barbirolli.
"That Di Stefano's colleagues should play instinctively up to him is no more surprising than that an orchestra should play up to Beecham or Barbirolli," it read.