Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi and Neymar saying the trio can smell fear in their opponent and never give up.
The Germany defender, currently sidelined with injury, was famously outfoxed by Messi the Champions League last season, ending up on the floor while the Argentine went on to score.
The 27-year-old has recovered from that experience but says when facing the Barcelona striker and his team mate Neymar, or Madrid’s Ronaldo, you have to be switched on from first whistle to last – and have a huge slice of luck to survive 90 minutes unscathed.
Writing in the Players’ Tribune, the Bayern Munich defender stated: “With Ronaldo or Messi, whatever option you choose is difficult if they come at you with open space. They’re just so fast. Neymar and Messi are low to the ground and can turn quickly, so it’s difficult for defenders like me, who are tall centre-backs. Ronaldo, he’s got the height, but he’s also got incredible speed, strength and a good header.
“You can’t be lazy or caught on your heels with those players, because they will win and they will score. They are just too good for you to make even a little mistake. More than speed or technique though, as a defender you need confidence.
“Ronaldo, Messi, Suarez, Neymar – they can all smell if you’re afraid to duel with them. One whiff and then they destroy you. So you gotta show up.”