Over the years, Ronaldo has faced nearly every great defender in the world at their best. Ranging from Maldini to Thiago Silva in the Champions League, to John Terry, Sol Campbell, and Ricardo Carvalho in the Premier League, and the likes of Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique in La Liga.
According to him, however, the defender who challenged him the most and brought the best out of him is a certain left-back.
In an appearance on El Chiringuito TV, a Spanish talk show, Ronaldo said that star ex-Chelsea, Roma, and Arsenal left-back Ashley Cole is the best defender that he has ever had to face.
Ronaldo and Ashley Cole went head to head in the Premier League during the Portuguese forward’s 6-year spell with English giants Manchester United.
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During three of those years, Cole operated at the left-back spot for Arsenal, before moving to rival London club Chelsea in the summer of 2006.
In their first face-off during Ronaldo’s early days, he pulled one over Cole, putting him on his backside with a wicked stepover followed by a change of direction.
During his spell at Arsenal, Cole rose to the fore as the best left-back in the world for a considerable amount of time, before a breakdown in contract talks led to him forcing a move to Stamford Bridge.
Ronaldo and Cole faced off as genuine Premier League rivals for those 3 years from 2006 till 2009. United had the better of Chelsea, winning the league title over them during all 3 of those seasons.
Cole, however, has a 2007 FA Cup win at Ronaldo’s expense, with Didier Drogba scoring the winning goal for the Blues. Their last face-off as Premier League rivals was at Old Trafford, when Ronaldo emerged victorious by a margin of 3-0, consolidating United’s lead at the top of the table.