Legendary Chelsea Defender Names Toughest Opponent He Has Faced Between Ronaldo and Messi

Legendary Chelsea Defender Names Toughest Opponent He Has Faced Between Ronaldo and Messi

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at November 30, 2023 at 8:37 AM
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  • Ashley Cole has revealed the toughest opponent he faced during his illustrious career
  • The iconic English left-back was torn between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
  • Cole switched to coaching under ex-teammate Frank Lampard at Derby County in 2019

Legendary England defender, Ashley Cole recently shared insights into the most challenging opponent he encountered during his illustrious football career.

Having played for clubs like Arsenal and Chelsea, Cole found himself grappling with the decision to name Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo as his toughest adversary.

Ashley Cole, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, left-back, England
Ex-Chelsea star Ashley Cole has picked between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as his toughest opponent. Photos by s Ghatora/Bloomberg and Matthew Peters
Source: Getty Images

As a left-back celebrated for his adeptness in both defensive and offensive roles, the retired England international proved to be a formidable force on the left flank, often posing challenges for opposing wingers.

However, even with his prowess, Cole faced formidable opponents who made his playing days arduous.

Cole picks between Ronaldo and Messi

Across his extensive career, spanning over 700 games, per Transfermarkt, the 42-year-old singled out Ronaldo and Messi as the most formidable opponents he encountered on the field.

When prompted to pick between the two football icons, widely acclaimed as the greatest of their generation, the Birmingham City assistant coach leaned towards the Portuguese forward.

"Hardest opponent will probably have to be... I'll say Ronaldo, either him or Messi, but I'll say, Cristiano Ronaldo," he said, as quoted by Timeline CR7.

Cole moves into coaching after retirment

The seven-time FA Cup winner joined Wayne Rooney's support staff, alongside John O’Shea, Carl Robinson, and Pete Shuttleworth at Birmingham, according to the club's website.

After a decorated career, earning UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League honours with Chelsea, he transitioned to coaching under Frank Lampard at Derby County in 2019.

Seeking broader experience, Cole then moved to Chelsea’s Academy, coaching the Under-15 Blues before reuniting with Lampard at Everton.

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Ronaldo names toughest opponent

Sports Brief also previously reported on Ronaldo revealing the most formidable opponent he had encountered throughout his extensive career across the top tiers of Europe.

The Al-Nassr superstar crossed paths with Cole during the latter's spells with the two Premier League clubs and also when competing against the England national team with Portugal.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.