Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher faced some of the greatest players of all time during his storied career.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has named the five toughest opponents he came up against during his career.
Carragher made 737 appearances during his 16-year Anfield career, helping Liverpool win the Champions League and UEFA Cup during his playing days.
And the 42-year-old, now one of the most respected pundits in the game, has revealed his five most worthy adversaries.
First up is legendary AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini, who Carragher came up against in the 2005 Champions League final.
Maldini headed the Rossoneri into a first-minute lead that night in Istanbul as the Italians roared into a 3-0 lead before Liverpool staged a stunning comeback to force extra-time after pegging them back to 3-3, with Rafael Benitez’s men eventually winning on penalties.
On Maldini, Carragher told talkSPORT: “I played against him in the Champions League final [in May 2005] and I’ll never forget before the game he did an interview and he actually mentioned me in it and I was like ‘oh my god, Maldini knows who I am’.
“I’ve actually got his shirt from that final. They left everything in the dressing room, they left their medals, shirts, everything.
“We had a lot of young lads who came on the trip and they just went in and raided the dressing room!”
Carragher’s second player was former Chelsea defender John Terry, who won five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and a Champions League during his 19 years in the Blues team.
“For me, he [Terry] was the best centre back of the Premier League era,” said Carragher.
“He was my type of player. He was basically a better version of me, to be honest.”
Carragher rounded out his top five with Thierry Henry, Xavi and Lionel Messi.
Carragher faced Messi and Barcelona in 2006, and while the Argentine was not quite the finished product back then, his immense natural ability left a lasting impression on the Liverpool icon.
“He’s just an absolute god and there’s no way I couldn’t put him in my top five,” explained Carragher.
Henry the Premier League’s greatest player – Carragher
On Henry, Carragher said the Frenchman’s inclusion was never in doubt.
For Carragher, Henry is the greatest Premier League player of all time. He also feels Arsene Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ Arsenal side – for whom Henry starred – is the greatest side he ever faced, eclipsing Barcelona, Milan and Real Madrid among others.
“Possibly they [Arsenal and Henry] underachieved in terms of never winning the Champions League,” Carragher pondered.
“He was fantastic and definitely the toughest player I ever came up against. I think he was the best player in the world for a year or two around that era with Arsenal.”