Utd v Chelsea - key battles
Last Updated: 13/05/08 3:55pm
Ferdinand and Drogba: Their battle could prove crucial
Manchester United will meet Chelsea in the Champions League final, arguably the biggest game ever contested between two English clubs. We assess the individual contests which could decide the destiny of the trophy.
RIO FERDINAND v DIDIER DROGBA
Ferdinand has matured into one of the world's best defenders, his pace, anticipation and aerial ability a match for even the great strikers. The lapses that characterised his early career have been all but eradicated, while he appears set to succeed Gary Neville as United captain.
But even Ferdinand might struggle to contain Drogba playing to the peak of his powers. Arguably, there is no more complete centre-forward on the planet, as the Ivorian demonstrated in the semi-final victory over Liverpool. The consistency of his finishing has come under scrutiny this season but only because he has dipped slightly below the incredible form of last term.
CRISTIANO RONALDO v ASHLEY COLE
Already a Manchester United legend, Ronaldo may yet be talked about in the same breath as Pele and Maradona. A maestro with the ball at his feet and clinical in front of goal, he has been terrorising defenders all season. Worryingly for United's rivals, there is further improvement to come, with the Portugal winger sometimes prone to poor decision-making.
Cole is one of the few full-backs who can claim to have had the better of Ronaldo in the past. Indeed, prior to last season, there was no contest in their battles for both club and country, with Cole coming out on top on almost every occasion. Ronaldo has matured since and Cole will need to be at his very best to keep his rival at bay.
WAYNE ROONEY v JOHN TERRY
Rooney marries old-fashioned centre-forward play with the movement, touch and vision of the modern striker. He has proven as much as a talisman for United this season as he is for England. He is gradually losing his reputation for a suspect temperament, channelling his aggression in the right areas. He has also learned how to operate in a lone front man role having burst onto the scene as a deep lying forward.
Terry is a real defender's defender. The heart and soul of Chelsea, no-one will be more desperate than him to lift the club game's ultimate prize in Moscow. He leads both by word and deed and should he overcome his elbow injury he will hope his characteristic blood-and-thunder approach will be enough to contain Rooney.