Chelsea v Man United: Cristiano Ronaldo's epic battle with Ashley Cole

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Cristiano Ronaldo came up against some formidable defenders during his time in the Premier League with Manchester United. 

None of them tested the Portuguese quite like Ashley Cole, who Ronaldo once cited as his toughest opponent. 

One of their greatest battles came in United's 1-1 draw with Chelsea in 2006. 

The Red Devils took an early lead through Louis Saha, with Ricardo Carvalho ensuring the spoils were shared. 

It was Cole who earned the plaudits though, having stifled a player who was starting to make a serious name for himself in English football. 

“He’s kind of put his hand up and said, ‘I wanna go off’" Cole later told Chelsea TV. 

“So I think it was a good time to say I had him in my pocket.

“But I had so much respect for him, it was always a tough battle against not just Manchester United, but against him. And to see what he’s gone on to do is testament to how good he actually was."

If you watch the former England international closely at the end of the footage, you can see him making exactly that gesture to Ronaldo. 

The left-back was able to match him for pace and some of his tackles were timed perfectly. 

“I was so focused on that game," Cole added. Even in the changing room I just felt different going into this game.

“My focus and concentration — mentally I was on it. I came to show him the line a lot because I kind of fancied my chances up against him with my pace.

“And a little bit of mentality actually, I think I got in his head a few times. He always wanted that extra trick.

“I gave him a strong tackle, maybe it was a foul or not, I don’t know. And I felt at that time he didn’t want it no more.

“This is just one of my good moments against him and I would probably say I came out on top on this occasion.”

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