Is Cristiano Ronaldo the greatest footballer to have ever lived?
If you fall in the camp that answers that question in the positive, then you certainly have an argument that holds plenty of water and holds it very, very well.
Some of the oldest standing goalscoring records in Europe lie in ruins at Ronaldo’s feet and his tally of five Ballon d’Or titles is simply astonishing.
He first caught the eye of the one and only Sir Alex Ferguson in Portugal before moving to Manchester United where he became a bona-fide world-beater.
He set the Premier League alight in those early days as his exuberant brilliance frothed over and made him one of the most exciting talents to ever grace the English top flight.
However, he really hit his stride when he swapped United for Real Madrid.
Bedecked in the famous white shirt, Ronaldo would score an astonishing 450 goals while registering a stunning tally of 131 assists as well.
The Portuguese superstar was simply unplayable at times and was a crucial cog in the Real Madrid winning machine that would win an unprecedented three Champions League titles in a row.
Long story short, the man is pretty good with a football at his feet.
Even the best to have ever done it have their achilles’ heels, but what, or more so who, was Ronaldo’s?
He could choose from any number of some of the greatest players in history but it seems that former Chelsea and Arsenal man, Ashley Cole, was the one opponent who left a lasting impression.
When asked who the toughest defender he ever faced was, Ronaldo was rather emphatic as he named Cole and, when you watch highlights of some of their most epic duals, it’s easy to see why.
In the clips below, you can see that Cole was like a rash that Ronaldo simply couldn’t shake.
Ashley Cole. The greatest left-back of all time. 🐐 pic.twitter.com/IZ5x8a7fVu— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) June 13, 2022
Ashley Cole vs Cristiano Ronaldo at Euro 2004 is still an incredible watch. pic.twitter.com/S8FVjHPrkp— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) December 21, 2021
Brilliant – some of those tackles are just absolutely superb.
Ronaldo, who endured a difficult season with Man United last time out, will be hoping to help the side improve as they step into the Erik ten Hag era.
You can be sure that he will be very pleased that he doesn’t have to do that with Cole still on the hunt.