Legendary Arsenal right-back Lauren has admitted that former Manchester United stars Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo were the most difficult opponents he faced during his playing days.
The retired Cameroon international, who was part of the famous ‘Invincibles’ squad that won the 2003-04 Premier League title without suffering a single loss, told FairBettingSites (via Manchester Evening News):
“My toughest opponent was Ryan Giggs, he was very intelligent and quick with the ball.”
Lauren also spoke about the 2005 FA Cup final between Arsenal and Manchester United, which the Gunners won 5-4 on penalties. The Cameroonian faced a 20-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo at the time. He added:
“Also a young Cristiano Ronaldo, he gave me a bad time in the  FA Cup final. I was injured, so the first 45 minutes I was all over the place.”
Despite his injury, Lauren went on to play the entire 120 minutes and converted his spot-kick in the shootout.
Ronaldo had a heavily decorated and illustrious career at Manchester United. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner won three Premier League titles, one UEFA Champions League and one FA Cup with the Red Devils. He has registered 346 appearances across competitions for United, scoring 145 goals and providing 64 assists.
The Portuguese ace completed a lucrative $200 million-per-season move to Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Nassr in December after his Manchester United contract was terminated. Ronaldo fell out with the club hierarchy after he featured in a bombshell interview with British broadcaster Piers Morgan.
Al-Nassr boss blames Cristiano Ronaldo for Saudi Super Cup knockout
Al-Nassr lost 3-1 to Al-Ittihad on 26 January in the semi-finals of the Saudi Super Cup. During the encounter, Ronaldo had the chance to equalize for his side after Romarinho’s 15th-minute goal for Al-Ittihad. However, the Portuguese superstar failed to find the back of the net.
Al-Nassr manager Rudi Garcia believes the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s missed opportunity was a game-changer, as Al-Ittihad subsequently put two goals past Al-Nassr.
The French boss told reporters after the match (via GOAL):
“One of the things that changed the course of the match was Cristiano Ronaldo’s missed opportunity in the first half.”
Ronaldo has played one Saudi Pro League and one Saudi Super Cup game so far. The Portuguese ace is yet to get his name on the scoresheet for Al-Nassr.
It remains to be seen whether Ronaldo will be able to showcase his abilities in front of goal in Al-Nassr’s encounter against Al Fateh on 3 February.