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Ronaldo notched his 17th Premier League of the campaign to cancel out Marcos Alonso's strike two minutes earlier and stop United from suffering a third straight defeat.
James, meanwhile, churned in a stellar performance from right wing-back at Old Trafford and was named Man of the Match.
He had the most touches, crosses and tackles in the game and came close to rounding off a complete display with a left-footed effort that smacked the post late on.
Reece James' game by numbers vs. Man Utd:— Squawka (@Squawka) April 28, 2022
100% aerial duels won
90% pass accuracy
13 duels won
10 touches in opp. box
5 take-ons attempted
4 take-ons completed
3 chances created
3 fouls won
Chelsea's best player. 💪 pic.twitter.com/99Z1pesPMB
But fans also spotted what James did in the 76th minute. The England defender was seen with his hand covering his mouth while in conversation with Ronaldo.
Reece James definitely asking for Ronaldo's shirt here isn't he? pic.twitter.com/HLfeAn44oB— Josh Lawless (@JoshLawless_) April 29, 2022
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner then appeared to tell James, "Yeah, no problem" - and it was almost universally agreed that the exchange was definitely about Ronaldo's shirt.
Was that Reece James asking Ronaldo for his shirt after the game in the 76th minute? 😂— Stephen Bailey (@S_BaileyITFC) April 28, 2022
Reece James asking for Ronaldo’s shirt mid game what a fan 😭😭😭— Sadioooooooh (@sadioooooooh) April 28, 2022
Reece James securing ronaldo shirt at 76 mins 🤣🤣🤣 my goat— Ruhel (@royce66666666) April 28, 2022
I’m sure Reece James was asking for Ronaldo’s shirt there 😂 don’t blame him though— Kudzi 🇿🇼🇿🇲 (@kudzaimtisi) April 28, 2022
Reece James definitely asked for Ronaldo’s shirt there— Kelvin🇺🇸 (@KeIvin_Utd) April 28, 2022
Reece James whispering to Ronaldo asking for his shirt 🐐— 𝙍𝙖𝙠𝙤 🤟🏻🇮🇪 (@RealRako_) April 28, 2022
What could Reece James have been saying to Ronaldo other than "🥺 I'm such a big fan can I have your shirt 😍"?— Ty (@TweetieeTy) April 28, 2022
Reece James already asking for his shirt mid-game Ronaldo is truly gargantuan pic.twitter.com/sNCYS2U4qW— ☕︎︎ (@IlMelhor) April 28, 2022
James then posted a picture of him and Ronaldo on Twitter, accompanied with the message, "Felt like we deserved more. "Thank you for the support & stick with us! The marathon continues."
Felt like we deserved more. Thank you for the support♥️ & stick with us! The marathon continues. pic.twitter.com/smvi95H0Pi— Reece James (@reecejames_24) April 28, 2022
It turns out the 22-year-old idolised Ronaldo despite being a staunch Chelsea supporter and named him as the one player he'd love to play with in a Twitter Q&A.
Earlier this month, Real Madrid talisman Karim Benzema asked for James' shirt in a huge compliment following a phenomenal display at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Vinicius Jr also praised James after a superb winger-vs-full-back duel.
After the match, Benzema asked for a Reece James shirt pic.twitter.com/6jt6mZeuph— The Football Index 🎙 ⚽ (@TheFootballInd) April 13, 2022
James is vastly growing into a world-class player and his latest impressive outing led former United skipper Roy Keane to hail him as "outstanding" and say he "could play in any position".
"What a player Reece James is," Keane said on Sky Sports.
"He looks like a boxer. His distribution, movement, strength. He seems like a nice kid too. He’s a clever lad, could play in any position.
"Chelsea are a lucky club to have him. Outstanding."
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