Ashley Cole Reflects on Facing Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Ashley Cole Reflects on Facing Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Former Arsenal and Chelsea defender Ashley Cole shares his experiences facing football legends Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, revealing insights into their challenges and his legendary battles with them.

Former Arsenal and Chelsea defender Ashley Cole has shared his experiences facing two of football’s greatest players, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

While Ronaldo once hailed Cole as his toughest opponent, Cole admitted that Messi posed a greater challenge, despite never scoring against him.

“People talk about Ronaldo more because I played against him more,” Cole said. “But to mark Messi, on his day… he was just too good for me. But, again, he’s never scored [against me],” he added during a recent talk on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.

Cole’s encounters with Ronaldo were frequent and legendary, spanning 14 matches. Ronaldo, known for his dribbling skills during his time in the Premier League, often pushed defenders to their limits.

“He does not give you a second to breathe,” Ronaldo said in a 2016 interview with Coach Mag, acknowledging Cole’s fierce defensive style.

Despite Ronaldo’s praise, it was Cole’s battles with Messi that left a lasting impression on him. Messi and Cole faced each other five times in the Champions League, with Messi failing to score in any of those encounters.

Chelsea and Barcelona had some epic matches, and stopping Messi was always a highlight,” Cole noted.

Cole’s defensive prowess earned him a reputation as one of the best left-backs in English football. He won seven FA Cups, three Premier League titles, and a Champions League trophy with Chelsea before leaving Stamford Bridge.

Now retired, Cole has transitioned into coaching, working alongside Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard at Derby and Everton, respectively.

Meanwhile, Messi continues to excel with Inter Miami in MLS, and Ronaldo remains at the top of his game with Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia.

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