Top Footballers Reveal Their Toughest Opponents

Have you heard of top footballers and their rivals before? As much as football is a game of country against country or clubs in the same league competing against themselves, there are some top players who have their own rivals. Let’s discuss that in this article.

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Have you ever wondered who your favorite footballers hate to go up against? 

Wonder no more, we have it all for you here today. 

Here, top footballers and their rivals

1. Erling Haaland

Let’s start with the deadliest striker in the world right now – Erling Haaland. This guy scores for fun. He scores so much that you’d think there’s no opponent too tough for him. But Erling Haaland has revealed that the toughest opponent he has ever had to play against is Virgil van Dijk, and to be honest, we’re not very surprised.

top footballers and their rivals

Haaland has gone up against van Dijk on the international stage and at club level both as a City man and back when he was at Salzburg. And each time, van Dijk was a thorn in his flesh.

The Dutchman is one of the best defenders in the world and he’s one guy who can match Haaland strength for strength.

2. Van Dijk

On the other hand, Van Dijk doesn’t think Haaland is the toughest opponent he has ever gone up against. It’s not even Messi or Ronaldo whom he has faced a number of times. The Liverpool center-back revealed that his toughest opponent is Olivier Giroud.

Pretty surprising, right? Van Dijk is just sick of Giroud because the Frenchman always manages to score against him. From when he was at Arsenal to Chelsea and for France, Giroud always seems to know how to get the better of van Dijk.

3. Antoine Griezmann

Meanwhile,  Giroud’s teammate Antoine Griezmann hates to face Frenkie de Jong. Back when de Jong was at Ajax, Griezmann was so sick of him! Then they became teammates at Barcelona, and de Jong probably still gave him a tough time during training. 

Now, they’re no longer teammates, but they go up against each other often in La Liga. It’s pretty weird that an attacker’s nightmare is a midfielder, but I guess that’s just how good and versatile de Jong is.

4. Neymar

Neymar is one of the best players in the world without a doubt; can skip past players in a heartbeat, but he has revealed that his toughest opponent is Kyle Walker. 

Each time they faced off, Walker has not allowed Neymar to enjoy himself at all. Neymar naming you the toughest opponent he has ever gone up against is such a huge compliment. We’re sure you guys are waiting to find out who Ronaldo hates to face. Well, keep watching to find out.

5. Marcus Rashford

There’s another superstar winger who really hates to face Kyle Walker and that’s Marcus Rashford. See, Kyle Walker has been tormenting Rashford from his Spurs days to his time at City.

Rashford has gone up against Walker about 15 times but he has only scored 3 goals. We’re pretty sure Rashford avoids going up against Walker in England training.

6. Harry Kane

Speaking of England, the Three Lions captain has a unique pick for the toughest opponent. After all his years in the Premier League, you’d expect Harry Kane’s toughest opponent to be van Dijk, Ruben Dias, or maybe even Vincent Kompany, but according to him, his toughest opponent is Giorgio Chiellini.

The pair played against each other on about 4 different occasions both at club and international level, and each time was hell for Kane. He scored only once against a Chiellini side.

7. Vini Jr

We know you guys want to know who Vini Jr.’s toughest opponent is, but then it’s easy to guess who. Of course, it’s Ronaldo Araujo. The battle between those two has been one to watch over the last couple of years. What a show! We enjoyed it, but Vini was sick of it!

Nobody handles Vini like Araujo. Thorn in his flesh, for real.

8. Jude Bellingham

Vini is not the only Real Madrid man who hates going up against a Barcelona fella. His new teammate Jude Bellingham does, too. The English midfielder revealed that his toughest opponent is Ilkay Gundogan.

They met on 4 different occasions in the Champions League when Bellingham was at Dortmund and Gundo was at City. A lot of time experience trumps youthful energy, you know.

9. Dominik Szoboszlai

Dominik Szoboszlai’s least favorite opponent to face is Luka Modric. The funny thing is that they’ve met only twice, once in the Champions League and once at the Euro 2020 qualifiers, but each time, Modric was a real menace that the young Hungarian named him his toughest opponent.

10. Bukayo Saka

Continuing the theme of experience trumping youthfulness, we have Bukayo Saka with one of the strangest entries of this article.

Would you believe that the PFA Young Player of the Year named Sergio Busquets as the toughest opponent he has ever faced?

These guys met once during a preseason friendly back in 2019 but it was enough for Busquets to traumatize him for life. Damn! 

But can you guess Bukayo Saka’s toughest opponent?

It’s N’Golo Kante. No surprises here, to be very honest.

11. Jack Grealish 

Another player who hates to go up against Kante is Jack Grealish. From when he was at Aston Villa to when he moved to Man City, Kante absolutely terrorized Grealish everywhere. For Grealish, seeing Kante on the team sheet was like a nightmare, he’s just everywhere at the same damn time. 

Enough with the youngsters already, let’s check out who some true OGs really hate to face. 

12. Robert Lewandowksi

Robert Lewandowksi’s toughest opponent is Sergio Ramos. Honestly, it just seems natural that a former Bayern player would hate going up against a former Real Madrid player considering how often Los Blancos brutalized Bayern in the Champions League back then.

But while it’s not very surprising that Lewandowksi’s toughest opponent is Ramos, here’s one that’ll really surprise you.

12. Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne’s toughest opponent is Neymar! Honestly, this has to be the strangest one on the list today. I mean, De Bruyne is pretty much a forward player, you’d have expected his toughest opponent to be a defender or, at least, a midfielder. But Neymar? I guess that’s just how mesmerizing the Brazilian is.

14. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has ever played against throughout his career is Ashley Cole, and honestly, that’s not very surprising. Back when Ronaldo was still a young player with a lot of flair, he would skip past defenders both young and old with so much ease, but when it came to Ashley Cole, it was always so tough.

Ronaldo said that the former Chelsea man never gave him any space to breathe whenever they went up against each other. It was always so tough.

15. Antonio Rudiger

Antonio Rudiger’s toughest opponent is none other than Lionel Messi. We saw how well the German handled Haaland in the Champions League, but when it comes to Messi, his knees go weak. Honestly, who wouldn’t be scared?

16. Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes, however, hates to face Declan Rice, and honestly, after that Premier League game between Manchester United and Arsenal, we understand. Rice owned the midfield and then went on to score a banger late in the game.

Let’s now wrap this up with goalkeepers.

17. Manuel Neuer

Manuel Neuer is one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, but there’s a particular player who gives him nightmares. You know who that player is?

Of course, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo has scored against Neuer 10 times both at club and international level. The German goalie probably pees his pants a little whenever he sees the Portuguese running towards him.

Considering how tough he is to go up against, Neuer must have been super proud of himself when he saved a penalty from Ronaldo in the shootout of the 2012 Champions League semi-final.

18. Aaron Ramsdale

Aaron Ramsdale’s toughest opponent is Jamie Vardy. He faced the striker as a Sheffield player, Bournemouth player, and Arsenal player, and Vardy has scored against him 4 times. 

That’s not a very odd pick, to be honest. You know what’s odd?    saying that Michail Antonio is his toughest opponent. This is a man who has played against Ronaldo, Messi, Haaland, Kane, Aguero…name them. But he just finds Antonio super annoying, especially during setpieces.

If you were a professional footballer, who do you think would be the toughest player for you to face?

We’re thinking Harry Maguire or Timo Werner. What about you?

Keep reading: Footballers Who Can’t Live Without Their Special Accessories

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