It's safe to say that Jerome Boateng has come an extremely long way from the player who failed to make it at Manchester City.
Since leaving the Citizens for Bayern Munich in 2011, he has won five consecutive Bundesliga titles, the Champions League, three German Cups and the 2014 World Cup with Germany.
Despite his numerous injury problems this season, which limited him to just 13 league appearances, Boateng is still regarded as one of Europe's best defenders.
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The centre-back is quick, very powerful, strong in the air, accomplished in possession, and, during his career, he has come up against many of the world's finest attacking talents.
Boateng's toughest opponents
German outlet Sport Bild asked the 28-year-old to name the toughest individual opponents he's faced both at Bayern and Germany, and he responded by naming five superstars.
The World Cup Winner would continue by comparing Leo Messi and Cristiano, who have won the last nine Ballon d'Or awards between them, in terms of who he found easier to defend against.
Messi or Ronaldo?
Both of the all-time greats have enjoyed personal triumphs over Boateng in the past, with the most notable of those coming when Messi left him foolishly tumbling over himself at the Nou Camp with some mesmeric skill in a Champions League clash.
Boateng added: "Messi simply cannot be stopped by yourself. Ronaldo is easier (to cope with) because he is more about athletic prowess.
"But Ronaldo has changed his game. He now focuses less on dribbling and more on the end product. That is more difficult to defend against, because he has incredible timing."
Boateng certainly has a point, since Cristiano's influence on Real's build-up play has waned in recent years and he's focused almost solely on making sure he's in the right position to finish chances off.
As it has done for years, everything good about Barca continues to go through Messi, who registered 12 more goals and three more assists than Ronaldo in La Liga this season.
However, his goals helped Madrid win the title for the first time since 2012, and he fired Los Blancos to next month's Champions League final, where they can become the first team in the modern era to successfully defend the prestigious trophy.
Who do YOU think defenders find tougher to play against: Ronaldo or Messi? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!
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