The midfielder has revealed that the former Old Trafford star is nervous about facing his former team for the first time since leaving the club
The Portuguese spent six years with the Premier League leaders, winning three league titles and the Champions League once, before leaving for Madrid in 2009.
“Cristiano is anxious; you want to start the game. He is in extraordinary physical condition,” Essien told a press conference.
The former Chelsea man also added that Jose Mourinho's side are prepared for encounter, while noting United's considerable attacking threat.
“In the Champions League it will be a different game. I'm ready and the team is as well," he continued.
“They have many attackers and it is up us to stop them.”