Football

Man Utd defender Phil Jones explains how he kept Cristiano Ronaldo quiet during Real Madrid clash


Jones left Ronaldo frustrated during the Champions League clash (Picture: Getty Images)

Manchester United insists he was far from daunted by the prospect of marking Cristiano Ronaldo during one of the standout performances of his Manchester United career.

The Portuguese icon went up against his old club for the first time three years after making the move to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, but things didn’t quite go to plan for him.

The last-16 first-leg match at the Bernabeu ended 1-1, as a 20-year-old Phil Jones, deployed in midfield, kept Ronaldo, barring an exceptional headed equaliser, quiet in his own backyard.

Despite going on to lose the home tie at Old Trafford and exit the competition, Jones admitted his fearlessness helped him get the better of one of the greatest players of all time.

The England international told MUTV: ‘I think I got back the day after and the next night I had a catch up with my mates and they’re saying ‘you played in the Bernabeu last night, against Ronaldo’.

‘But when you’re that young, you just take it all in your stride and take it all for granted. It’s only when you look back and think ‘wow, what an occasion’.

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Jones put Ronaldo on the deck several times that night (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Yeah, it’s Ronaldo, and he’s such an iconic figure and he’s done so much for the sport, but you’re that young, you don’t care. You don’t care who he is and what he’s done.

‘You just go out to win a game of football, no matter who you’re up against. That’s always how I’ve looked at football. I don’t care who I’m up against. We’re just human beings and it’s just a game of football.’

Jones started the game in the centre of the park next to Michael Carrick, with clear instructions to pass to his fellow England teammate as often as possible.

He added: ‘I had Carras [Carrick] in there alongside me and, for me, he was massively under-rated. His passing and vision were a joke. It was my job basically to get the ball to him, to get us playing and that’s exactly what we did.’

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