During his seven year spell with Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo came up against some of the best defenders in world football in both Premier League and Champions League competition.
If you look back,John Terry from Chelsea was at the peak of his powers, so he may spring to mind, or maybe someone from his time at the Carrington training ground…Nemanja Vidic or Rio Ferdinand perhaps?
Nope. In an interview with El Chiringuito TV earlier this year, the five time Ballon d’Or winner revealed that former Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole was a tricky customer.
In fact, he was the toughest opponent the 33-year-old has faced in his 16 year professional career – now that is a bold statement.
This isn’t the first time Ronaldo has expressed his admiration for Ashley Cole’s defending ability.
Speaking to Coach Magazine back in 2016, 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.”
Watching both players go at it in their absolute prime was a joy to watch, and it’s certainly high praise from Madrid’s’ No.7 for the three-time Premier League winner.
I think it’s fair to say that the former Arsenal full-back contained Ronaldo more than most, but a moment during Manchester United’s 0-0 draw at Old Trafford proves that he did slip on the odd occasion. Literally.
In the 4th minute, Ronaldo changed direction quickly with a stepover and Cole couldn’t stay on his feet, which led the Old Trafford crowd chanting “whey” as he landed on his backside.