Antonio Rudiger's toughest XI: Chelsea defender selects hardest opposition line-up

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo obvious picks in Antonio Rudiger's toughest XI, but who else features in his star-studded line-up?

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Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger picks his 11 toughest opponents he’s faced during his career on The Football Show

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger picks the 11 toughest players he has faced during his career on Sky Sports' brand-new programme The Football Show.

The 27-year-old has enjoyed spells in the Bundesliga with Stuttgart, in Serie A with Roma and in the Premier League with Chelsea, as well as representing Germany at the 2018 World Cup in Russia

It's a career which to date has pitted him against some of the best players of this generation - but who were the toughest? Here, Rudiger reveals all...

Manuel Neuer

rudiger 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.

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.

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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.

Virgil van Dijk

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.

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.

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. Wow.

Kevin De Bruyne

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.

Andres Iniesta


The vision he had for football was massive, I'd never seen anything like it. His combination game was top class.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi has a contract at Barcelona until  2021.

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.

Cristiano Ronaldo

rudiger 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.

Sergio Aguero

aguero rudiger

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.

Antonio Rudiger picks his toughest XI on The Football Show
Image: Antonio Rudiger picks his toughest XI on The Football Show
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