Wes Brown delivers verdict on man-marking Zidane and Ronaldo at Man Utd

Everton v Manchester United - Premier League

Manchester United could probably do with a few members of their 1999 treble-winning squad if they have any chance of catching Manchester City this season.

No matter what the Red Devils achieve in their illustrious history, the narrative of the 1998-99 campaign will never get old for supporters. And while far from one of the key members of that legendary squad, Wes Brown was there to see all three trophies held aloft.

The future England international saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fire home the winning goal in the Champions League final from the United bench and would eventually accumulate 362 appearances in the famous red jersey.

Brown didn't carry the glamour, talent or memories as the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville but remained an integral part of Sir Alex Ferguson's squad.

As a result, Brown played against some of the game's greatest players from Lionel Messi, Luis Figo, Didier Drogba and Thierry Henry to name a few.

Interesting though, neither of those take the title as the most difficult opponent Brown has faced.

In an interview with ESPN, the 38-year-old revealed: "You might expect me to say some of the lads from Real Madrid or Barcelona or wherever, but it was John Hartson at Coventry City.

"I tried to be aggressive and bully him, but he bullied me all over the pitch.

"I was young, I learned a lot from him. It took me time to learn that you could play opponents in different ways."

Watford v Manchester United

A bizarre choice but it's not difficult to imagine Hartson bullying about a young Brown.

Nevertheless, the ex-Sunderland man had to admit that man-marking the Real Madrid 'Galaticos' was quite the task and hearing of their class against Manchester United says everything about their legendary status.

"I played against Zinedine Zidane in the Champions League. I was right-back and he was on the left side of midfield. I couldn't get near him because I didn't know what position he was supposed to be in,"  he said.

"I'd go to make a challenge and he'd one touch the ball out to Roberto Carlos who'd then run past me.

"They were so good; there was no point me even playing.

Real Madrid's Ronaldo celebrates after s

"I marked the Brazilian Ronaldo, too. He'd had his injuries but he was still unbelievable. I marked him in Madrid and again at Old Trafford when he scored a hat trick.

"Maybe we gave him too much respect in the sense we gave him a lot of time, but when he shot he scored. Our fans cheered him off that night. I could understand why."

Who do you think is the greatest striker of the Premier League era? Have your say in the comments section below.

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