Ashley Cole says Lionel Messi & Cristiano Ronaldo would have 'killed him' in a one-on-one

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Manchester United v Arsenal

Ashley Cole will go down as one of England's greatest ever players as of when he brings his illustrious career to an end.

Now at Derby County under former Chelsea teammate Frank Lampard, the 38-year-old will become a free agent at the end of the season.

What will happen next only he knows. Signing for a new club is an option, but Cole turns 39 in December and he's no longer a spring chicken.

Becoming a coach seems the logical choice given the success of former international teammates like Lampard, John Terry, Steven Gerrard and Sol Campbell.

Cole has a lot to offer considering he's played for Arsenal and Chelsea, won the Premier League and Champions League, and played against some of the world's best players.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of such world-class players that Cole has faced on several occasions down the years.

During his time in the Premier League, the former England international rivalry with Ronaldo became one of he most entertaining to watch.

And in the Champions League, Cole came up against Messi in 2006, 2009 and 2012 and somehow didn't lose a single game.

A lot of that was down to Cole being one of the best left-backs in the world at the time, but he's admitted that being surrounded by great players helped.

Chelsea v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Semi Final

Cole recently gave his first interview with a British newspaper in 14 years and one of the topics of conversation was about facing Messi and Ronaldo.

And he claims that if it wasn't for having players like Campbell at Arsenal and Terry at Chelsea to support him, he would have been ripped to shreds.

"They were great battles," Cole told the Telegraph. "Looking back on those days it was always Ashley v Ronaldo, but I was always lucky enough to have other players around me.

"If it was just me against Ronaldo, he'd kill me. If it was me versus Messi, he'd kill me.

Manchester United v Chelsea

"I had other players to help me. If Messi was running at me I knew I could show him inside because I had John Terry there.

"At the time with Ronaldo, I had Sol Campbell or Kolo Toure there. It wasn't just about me.”

Cole is regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation, but even he admits that he couldn't handle Messi or Ronaldo on his own.

It's a good job that he's probably never going to share a pitch with them again.

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