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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 9, 2006

Cole gunning for Champions League glory

Ashley Cole came within touching distance of the European Cup last season and this time he wants to win it.

Cole admits his burning ambition is to lift the Champions League trophy. He was in the Arsenal team beaten in last season's final by Barcelona and claims his new club Chelsea have the class to go one better.

Cole, 25, said: 'It was hard to see it so close to my hands and not be able to pick it up.

'It has made me want to drive on and do it this time.

'The Chelsea lads have been close as well, maybe not in the final, but they want to win it too.'

Cole spent most of last season fighting injury but was back in action at the end of the season and played for Arsenal against Barcelona in the Stade de France, Paris.

The Gunners went down to 10 men when Jens Lehmann was sent off but stole the lead through a Sol Campbell header. They hung onto the lead until late goals from Samuel Eto'o and Juliano Belletti broke their hearts.

Cole said: 'It was so disappointing. I felt lucky to be on the pitch. The boss gave me a chance after a bad injury.

'It was a great day but it was very disappointing to walk past them celebrating with the trophy.

'If you have not done it before it is a great honour to win it. I was lucky to be that close.

'I'm not saying I've got a better chance of winning it here but I've got a good chance.

'Any silverware to show for the hard work you go through in a season is good but the Champions League is a big ambition for me.'

Chelsea launch their European campaign at home to Werder Bremen of Germany on Tuesday but they have been drawn to face Barcelona in Group A.

The Catalan club knocked Chelsea out last year in a controversial clash when Blues defender Asier del Horno was sent off and Jose Mourinho accused Barca's Lionel Messi of play-acting.

Cole said: 'I watched the Barcelona games last time, with friends at home. Hopefully I'll come up against Messi this time and stop him.'

The England full-back cannot wait to start playing for his new club and put the furore of his departure from Arsenal behind him.

Cole said: 'I feel like a new man. It's a new start for me. I am hungry for more medals and I think we have a good chance of winning the Champions League.

'I'm a little bit nervous. Hopefully I can start playing and it will bring out the best in me.'

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