Ex-Man Utd and Arsenal star Mikael Silvestre names the toughest opponent of his career

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 25: Mikael Silvestre in action during the Manchester United training session held at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on July 25, 2008 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Silvestre was hugely impressed by Ronaldo (Picture: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Michael Silvestre believes Brazilian Ronaldo was on a different level – even compared to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Former Manchester United and Arsenal defender Silvestre came up against some of the most fearsome attackers in European football during his 11 years in the Premier League and his 40 caps for France.

Ronaldo had spells at Barcelona. Real Madrid and AC Milan during a glittering career, and used to train alongside Silvestre when the pair were at Inter Milan – before Silvestre joined United.

And Silvestre believes ‘unstoppable’ Ronaldo was less predictable than his namesake and Silvestre’s former United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, while he was quicker than Messi.

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‘He was unstoppable,’ Silvestre told Manchester United’s website.

‘You called him “El Fenomeno” then. I played against Messi and I played with Cristiano at Manchester United, but he [Ronaldo] is something else in terms of speed.

‘Everything is top level. Cristiano, maybe you can guess that he has three or four tricks he would use most of the time, but Ronnie, it was always something different.

(GERMANY OUT) eigentlich Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima *22.09.1976- Sportler, Fussball, Brasilien Stürmer (Nationalmannschaft) jubelt mit ausgestrecktem Zeigefinger über sein Tor im WM-Halbfinale gegen die Türkei. (Photo by Pressefoto Ulmerullstein bild via Getty Images)
Ronaldo was the toughest player Silvestre faced (Picture: Pressefoto Ulmerullstein bild/Getty)

‘He was inventing things on the spot, so you can’t guide him left or right because he’s going to get out of these situations, no matter what.

‘He could score from any type of position. He was playing on one leg at some points and was still beating defenders all over Europe.’

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