Ashley Cole is a member of an exclusive club
Former Chelsea defender Ashley Cole revealed the reason why Barcelona’s Lionel Messi never managed to score past him during his eight-year tenure at Stamford Bridge.
In an interview with Goal, Cole made it clear that such an astonishing defensive record against the greatest player of all time required a team effort.
“It wasn’t just me!” he explained with a grin.
“That’s been thrown about but the team effort was massive. When it came to stopping players like him, we had a great team understanding and togetherness at Chelsea.
“Our midfield was integral in that regard. It certainly wasn’t just me. I wasn’t blowing my trumpet there by pointing that out!”
Cole was also asked to construct his ‘perfect player’ and he proceeded with picking legendary Brazil right-back Cafu for his stamina.
“I thought I had a good engine but when I came up against him, I was left on my knees!
“I even later played against him in a charity game for David Beckham and I don’t know how old he was at the time but he still had the stamina he had at 20 or 25 years of age! He was non-stop, a machine.”
He chose Dutch and Bayern Munich legend Arjen Robben for his left foot.
“I played against him for Roma and he absolutely destroyed me!”
Given his numerous battles against Man United’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Cole was also quick to pick the Portuguese talisman for his right foot.
“I was going to say David Beckham here because I think he could put a ball on a sixpence, but I think I will go for Ronaldo,” he quipped.
“Ronaldo could go inside and out. Also, the quality of his right foot, the quality of his shooting from every angle and different ranges, the quality of his free-kicks with the bend he could get on the ball, he was fantastic.
“He was one you just couldn’t give any space to. So, it was about being on the front foot, being aggressive and trying to get out to him and not let him get his head up and start doing the stepovers.”
He finally named Brazil legend Ronaldinho for his scintillating skills with a football.
“Even though I was in battles against him, sometimes I’d laugh to myself when he pulled off a crazy piece of skill or nutmegged someone,” he exclaimed.
“Even as you’re playing against him, you enjoy watching him play. The way he floated across that turf, doing stepovers, finding passes with every party of his foot… He was like a magician.
“You see a lot of players who feel like they have the skills but he was efficient, too; he did it in the right areas. He cut teams apart with his skill. He had everything.”