Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo name toughest opponents of their careers with surprise player included

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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo name toughest opponents of their careers with surprise player included

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both named the toughest opponents they have ever faced.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both named the toughest opponents they have ever faced.

Having collectively won 13 Ballon d’Or awards, Messi and Ronaldo are without doubt the two greatest players of their generation.

Of course, some of the most accomplished defenders in history have struggled to keep either quiet. However, very occasionally, a player will step up and shackle one of Ronaldo or Messi’s supernatural talents

Indeed, Ronaldo once admitted that Ashley Cole, believed by many to be the greatest left-back of the Premier League era, is the toughest opponent he ever faced.

The pair came up against one another in the Premier League and on international duty for England and Portugal respectively.

Speaking to Coach Mag, he said: “Over the years I had some great battles with Ashley Cole. He does not give you a second to breathe.

“He was such a tenacious player when he was at his peak, quick, tough in the tackle. You knew it would never be an easy game.”

Meanwhile, the toughest opponent of Messi’s career is far less celebrated.

Speaking back in 2020, Messi admitted via FourFourTwo: “Pablo Maffeo of Girona was the toughest. I’ve never been one who complains, but that [match] was intense!”

The Argentina star was referring to Barcelona’s 3-0 win over the La Liga side back in 2017, when 20-year-old Maffeo, who was then on loan at Girona from Manchester City, man-marked him.

Ronaldo and Cole went toe to toe on several occasions (Getty)

Ronaldo and Cole went toe to toe on several occasions (Getty)

Speaking after the game, the young defender, who now plays for Mallorca, explained (quotes via GiveMeSport): “Messi told me: ‘I’ve got you here for the whole day’ and I said: ’You’re the best in the world, I’m not going to leave you.

“He asked me how old I was, if I had been assigned by Manchester City and what it was like there. He said the marking was not pleasant.

“Messi and I were together the whole match. He has asked me a couple of things. He is a good person.”

Maffeo and Messia are international teammates with Argentina.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Football, Premier League, Barcelona, Ashley Cole

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