Carles Puyol ignores Cristiano Ronaldo while naming the toughest XI he has played against
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo do not make the list - for different reasons.
El Clasico may be a couple of weeks away but the battles have already begun. Barcelona legend and former captain, Carles Puyol seems to have laid down the gauntlet after leaving out Cristiano Ronaldo from the toughest eleven he has ever faced.
Puyol during his playing days was considered as one of the best defenders in the world. His rich career which included multiple trophies with club and country also puts him in a position to judge the quality of players that he played against.
So, the decision to drop Cristiano from his lineup is sure to surprise a lot of people. Considered a darling of the Blaugrana, Puyol came through the ranks to lead Barcelona and Spain during a golden period which saw him win three Champions Leagues and six La Liga titles with Barca, plus the Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup. He was also capped 100 times by his country.
The beauty of the named eleven is that Puyol didn’t have to name Messi, because of them being team-mates. Puyol has stated his admiration for both players, but when asked to pick a favourite, he preferred the Argentinean stating, “They are both great players but in my opinion, Messi is the best in the world. He (Ronaldo) is one of the best. He’s a player who can make the difference and he has been scoring many goals. In my opinion, he’s the most important player in Real Madrid.”
Sagely words indeed but that still wasn’t enough to make him the toughest opponent that the veteran defender has ever faced. Instead, the defender named former Madrid legends such as Zidane and Carlos among the toughest eleven faced.
Opting to choose a 4-3-3 formation, Puyol’s choices are not going to be debated that much, given that he has picked long-serving Juventus and Italy keeper Gianluigi Buffon behind a dream back four comprising of ex-Inter full-back Javier Zanetti, the Milan central duo of Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini and to complete this quartet was Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos.
In the midfield, Puyol named Andrea Pirlo in midfield, alongside ex-Holland playmaker Clarence Seedorf and Zinedine Zidane before naming the trio of Robben, Drogba, and Aguero as his strike force.
While the exclusion of Ronaldo is sure to raise a few eyebrows, one can hardly debate the quality of the side named. Nevertheless, Ronaldo will be sure to take notice of this and it won’t be too bad to make a statement at the El Clasico, next month.