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  • Writer's pictureEthan

Soccer Player's Toughest Opponents

Every soccer player has gone up against tough opponents, but sometimes the fans don't know who their favorite player has the most difficulties against, this will solve just that, as we will see 15 players and their toughest opponents.

Offensive Players:

Lionel Messi: Pablo Maffeo, a 25 year old Spanish defender who currently plays for the Spanish soccer team Mallorca. Messi said that Maffeo had a very intense, physical style of play that made the 7 time ballon d’or winner angry.

Cristiano Ronaldo: Ashley Cole, a now retired 41 year old defender who spent most of his career at Arsenal and Chelsea, he also has the most international appearances ever for a fullback on the English national team, with 107. Ronaldo said that Cole didn’t give him room to breathe, and that he was quick and tough with his tackles, and that any game against Cole, he knew would be difficult.

Robert Lewandowski: Carlos Zambrano, a 33 year old Peruvian center back who played in the Bundesliga between 2012-2016 and now currently for Boca Juniors is who the Polish striker named. Lewandowski said that Zambrano plays very aggressively and that “All he wanted was to break my legs. He didn’t even look at the ball,” and although Lewandowski is a prolific goalscorer he has never scored in the five games that he has gone up against the defender.

Erling Haaland: The Premier League’s current goal leader said his hardest opponent was Virgil Van Dijk, a Dutch center back who plays for Liverpool. The Manchester City star pointed out that Van Dijk’s height, strength, and physicality make the center back so hard to play against.

Midfield Players:

Kevin de Bruyne: Neymar Jr, the Brazilian 30 year old forward is the Manchester City player’s pick for the most difficult player he has ever faced. The Belgian said that the speed, skill moves, and vision are difficult to match up with. He stated that going up against Neymar individually is practically impossible.

N’Golo Kante: Lionel Messi, the famous PSG forward who plays forward for the Argentine national team at 35 years old. Kante did not elaborate much on this claim, just saying “We played against him in the Camp Nou and he was very good."

Joshua Kimmich: Alvaro Morata, a 29 year old Spanish striker who plays with Atlético Madrid. Kimmich said that Morata is strong and fast. The Bayern Munich player said that Morata also has very good technique, which makes him very difficult to stop.

Paul Pogba: Former Liverpool player Emre Can, a 28 year old defender who now plays with Borussia Dortmund. Pogba said that when the two players faced each other in the Premier League they would have lots of hard fought battles, as both of them would play rough when matched up.

Defensive Players:

Virgil Van Dijk: Lionel Messi, the same player picked by N’Golo Kante. Van Dijk said that Messi is the best player in the world and said that along with Ronaldo, they had achieved unreal numbers and accolades. He also said Messi was the toughest because Barcelona beat Liverpool 3-0 in the Champions League Semi Final first leg a few years back, and Messi had a huge part in that.

David Alaba: Theo Walcott, a 33 year old forward who has spent most of his career at Arsenal, but now resides on the Southampton squad. Alaba said that Ronaldo and Messi were also up there, but said Theo Walcott was a great player to play against, also stating that at this level, all of his competition is difficult.

Antonio Rudiger: Lionel Messi makes another appearance on Rudiger's list, the Real Madrid defender said that Messi was the greatest player he ever played against. He elaborated on that by saying that Messi decides how the game goes, and that no one else can choose, Rudiger said that when Messi chooses to have a good day, he is impossible to stop.

Sergio Ramos: Ronaldinho, the 42 year old retired winger who played for Barcelona and won the World Cup with Brazil. The center back stated Ronaldinho was unstoppable at his best, incredible at scoring and amazing at just being an amazing all around playmaker.


Jordan Pickford: Cristiano Ronaldo, the famed Portuguese forward who plays for Manchester United. Pickford said he was lucky to have kept two clean sheets in two games against Ronaldo, but the Everton player said that with all of the plays Ronaldo set up, he was very difficult to play against.

Illan Meslier: Mohamed Salah, Liverpool’s Egyptian forward was Meslier’s choice. The French goalkeeper said Salah was the toughest opponent with Kevin de Bruyne close behind. The goalie said that they are both unstoppable forces. Since 2020 Salah has scored against meslier six times, and in the first game that they faced each other, Salah scored a hat trick.

David De Gea: Harry Maguire, a 29 year old English defender who plays for Manchester United. De Gea named his own teammate after a loss in which the English was no help to United in their 5th game in which they let in more than 4 goals last Premier League season.

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