England World Cup absentee James picks his three toughest ever opponents & snubs Messi for Ronaldo in GOAT debate

Reece James England training 2022Getty Images
  • James missing World Cup through knee injury
  • Chose Vinicius, Leao & Mane as hardest opponents
  • Snubbed Messi in age-old debate

WHAT HAPPENED? James also weighed in on the age-old Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo debate, opting for the Portugal captain and snubbing the boy from Rosario. In terms of his most testing adversaries on the pitch, the 22-year-old awarded those titles to Vincius Jr, Rafael Leao and Sadio Mane.

WHAT THEY SAID: Regarding his toughest opponents, James wrote “3 hardest players I’ve ever played against are all left wingers! Vinicius Jr, [Rafael] Leao and [Sadio] Mane!”, while on the long-running debate about the world's greatest, the Blues star simply put "Ronaldo" in response.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: James is currently spending time in rehabilitation following a knee injury suffered in early October which saw him miss England's World Cup campaign. The Blues defender has two goals and two assists in eleven appearances for Chelsea so far this season and was verbal in his disappointment of being snubbed for Qatar.


Reece James Sadio ManeGetty ImagesReece James ViniciusGetty ImagesCristiano Ronaldo Messi@Getty

DID YOU KNOW? James has been directly involved in 16 goals in the Premier League since the start of last season (6 goals, 10 assists), the most of any full-back or wing-back, despite only playing in 33 of Chelsea's 51 games in this period.

WHAT NEXT FOR JAMES? With Chelsea lumbering down in eighth at the turn of the international break, a fully fit James will likely form a vital part of Graham Potter's side in the new year as they chase the Champions League spots.

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