Ronaldo: Ashley Cole toughest opponent

Real Madrid's former Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo has labelled Chelsea defender Ashley Cole the toughest opponent he has ever played against.

The world’s most expensive player also admitted that the Premier League is the most physical and demanding competition in the world.

“He’s [Ashley Cole] a very tough, tenacious football player,” he told Sport-Express.

“In England players are constantly tackling. Everyone tries to kick you, but if you’re in good physical shape and quick enough, then you can dodge it.

“There are more injuries, blows, tackles and players are more physical. In general, it’s much more of a battle [in England].

“Referees don’t protect players as much and aren’t always whistling for fouls."

The Portuguese winger became the first player from the English top flight to be crowned FIFA World Player of the Year in 2008 – capping off a stunning six-year spell at Old Trafford.

And despite the physical nature of the English game, Ronaldo still ranks the Premier League alongside La Liga as the best league in the world.

“All the same, I still like the English league," he said.

"That and the Spanish league are the best two national championships in the world.”