Both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are regarded as two of the greatest footballers of all-time, with their records and trophy cabinet speaking for themselves.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo pick their toughest opponents
Barcelona star Lionel Messi has enjoyed some good battles with the likes of Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos, while also facing world-class defenders like Jerome Boateng and Rio Ferdinand.
However, the Argentina international was ready with an unusual name when asked about his toughest opponent.
In an interview to DAZN, Lionel Messi admitted that Spanish full-back Pablo Maffeo's man-marking ability was full of intensity.
"Man-marking doesn't bother me -- you know that there will be tough matches and it can be strange to always have someone around you. In truth, it hasn't happened to me that often. It doesn't bother me, but it is strange. Pablo Maffeo of Girona [was the toughest man-marker]. That was intense!"
Maffeo, a former Manchester City player, now plays for Huesca, on loan from Bundesliga side Stuttgart.
Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, has played for clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus with distinction, while also leaving his mark with the Portugal national team.
The 35-year old stated that left-back Ashley Cole was the toughest player he had ever faced.
"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."
Ashley Cole is regarded as one of the best left-backs of the modern generation, and played for the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea during a storied career.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had some good battles of their own, mainly during the El Clasicos. During Cristiano Ronaldo's stint with Real Madrid, the matches between Los Blancos and Lionel Messi's Barcelona were arguably the most exciting ones in La Liga.
Lionel Messi's Barcelona faced Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus earlier this month, with Juventus beating Barcelona 3-0.
Published 26 Dec 2020, 12:17 IST