Jerome Boateng admits Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are among the toughest opponents he has faced while at Bayern Munich.
The World Cup winner has taken on some of the finest talent on the planet while turning out for club and country.
Boateng has held his own at times, but has also been made to look rather foolish – the sight of Messi leaving him on his backside in a Champions League encounter at Camp Nou will live long in the memory.
The 28-year-old has, however, always embraced the challenge posed by such foes and admits the desire of said players to continue improving means that defenders can never relax.
Asked by Sport Bild to name the best he has faced, Boateng said: “Messi and Ronaldo are the toughest, but I would also place Eden Hazard of Chelsea, Neymar of Barcelona and Karim Benzema of Real Madrid on the list.
“Messi simply cannot be stopped by yourself. Ronaldo is easier because he is more about athletic prowess.
“But Ronaldo has changed his game. He now focuses less on dribbling and more on the end product. That is more difficult to defend against because he has incredible timing.”
Bayern and Boateng felt the full force of Ronaldo once again in the 2016-17 campaign, with the mercurial Portuguese forward netting five times across a two-legged Champions League quarter-final to help Madrid in the defence of their European crown.