CHELSEA star Antonio Rudiger named his best XI of stars he has faced during his career – reserving special praise for the ‘best ever’, Lionel Messi.
The German defender, 28, revealed all in an interview with Sky Sports in 2020.
And he named a host of Premier League rivals, including two current Liverpool players.
But when asked who he believed to be the greatest player of all-time, Rudiger aimed to settle the debate by claiming it would be Messi for him.
“Is he the best ever? I didn’t see Pele or Diego Maradona playing because that was not my time, so it’s Messi.”
Check out what Rudiger had to say on every player in his best XI…
GOALKEEPER – Manuel Neuer
“There were some times, around 2014, where he was unbeatable. He was the goalkeeper.
“There are a lot of good goalkeepers, I played with Alisson at Roma, he’s a beast, and I’ve played with Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Bernd Leno.
“There are a lot of good goalkeepers, but I pick Neuer.
“In the 2014 World Cup against Algeria, I was watching from home and he was unbeatable, he was almost playing like a defender, clearing up the long balls Algeria put over the defence.
“He took everything and I was shocked.”
RIGHT-BACK – Aaron Wan-Bissaka
“This guy is hard to beat, with his tackles – his sliding tackle is amazing.
“He is progressing very well, and I like him very much.”
CENTRE-BACK – Sergio Ramos
“Everyone knows why, this guy knows how to do his job in defence and is also very important at offensive set pieces.
“He is a commanding defender and a great anywhere.”
Van Dijk and Robertson both make it into Rudiger’s best XI
CENTRE-BACK – Virgil van Dijk
“In the last two years, he’s shown he is definitely one of the best, even maybe the best at the moment. He is a beast.
“You always look up to those kind of players because these two centre-backs are, at the moment, the best centre-back, so of course you can learn something from them.
“Everyone has their own style of playing, but you can learn from them.”
LEFT-BACK – Andrew Robertson
“This guy doesn’t stop running, he is active the whole time, going forward and backwards.
“He is very good at crossing and overall, both defensively and offensively, he is doing a very good job.”
CENTRE-MID – Andres Iniesta
“The vision he had for football was massive, I’d never seen anything like it.
“His combination game was top class.”
Kante and De Bruyne start in the midfield of Rudiger’s XI
CENTRE-MID – N’Golo Kante
“The guy is everywhere, and he loves to tackle.
“These kind of players look for the contest, they find it and they win it, that is impressive, especially when you consider what kind of guy he is.
CENTRE-MID – Kevin De Bruyne
“I played against him in Germany.
“In those days, it was hell to play against Wolfsburg because they were a really tough side with good quality players, and of course he was the best in that team.
“He has everything; his crossing, passing, the way he shoots on his left and right foot and his technical ability – he is really, really good.”
Ronaldo and Messi start on the wings in Rudiger’s toughest opponents XI
RIGHT-WING – Lionel Messi
“The next two stand out, they are in a different world, they are different quality.
“When you’re playing against Messi, the feeling you have is that it’s just up to him, if he is in a good mood or is having a good day you cannot stop him.
“That is my honest opinion.”
LEFT-WING – Cristiano Ronaldo
“The same applies with Ronaldo. They have two different ways of playing, one to try and score goals and the other is enjoying his football.
“If I had to pick one it would be Messi. Is he the best ever? I didn’t see Pele or Diego Maradona playing because that was not my time, so it’s Messi.”
STRIKER – Sergio Aguero
“For me, he is a top striker. He’s small, compact and a goalscorer who scores for fun.
“He’s the type of striker that if you give him an inch that’s enough, it’s tough to mark him.
“For a big defender, his centre of gravity is very low and it’s difficult because of his good movement.”
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