The toughest opponent that Cristiano Ronaldo has ever faced? Ashley Cole.
“Over the years I had some great battles with Ashley Cole, he does not give you a second to breathe," Ronaldo told Coach Mag in 2016, per Sky Sports.
“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."
For whatever reason, Cole’s career isn’t remembered in the esteem that it perhaps should be.
The former Arsenal and Chelsea left-back was arguably the best player in the world in his position at a time, and for Ronaldo to consider him his toughest opponent says a lot.
Cole’s highlights have appeared on Twitter and they’re certainly worth watching if you’re an aspiring full-back or just enjoy defence played at the highest level.
Cole even gestured to United supporters that he had Ronaldo in his pocket. He was right, too.
But the former England international, who retired last year, didn’t always have Ronaldo’s number.
The Portugal international loved to showcase his skills during his time at Man Utd and he left Cole doing the splits with one move against Arsenal.
Cole enjoyed numerous battles against Ronaldo but he doesn’t consider the Juventus player to be his hardest opponent.
Instead, he opted for Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
“People talk about Ronaldo more because I played against him more,” Cole said during an appearance on Sky Sports last year.
“But I think to mark Messi, on his day... he was just too good for me.”
Cole’s performance against Ronaldo in 2006 shows he knew how to stop Ronaldo.
But he never could figure out a way to thwart Messi.
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