Antonio Rudiger has one reason to explain why Erling Haaland is “tougher” to defend than Lionel Messi

For nearly two decades, Lionel Messi has been a nightmare for defenders worldwide, and his longevity in consistently delivering exceptional performances is unmatched. His unparalleled skills, dribbling ability, and vision on the field have rendered many top-level defenders helpless.

Hence, it came as a surprise to many that Antonio Rudiger or any defender at all would claim that Erling Haaland is more difficult to defend against, compared to Lionel Messi, who could beat a player much more easily than Haaland ever could.

Rudiger explains why Haaland is harder to defend than Messi

Real Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger made a surprising statement, suggesting that defending against Erling Haaland is more challenging than facing Lionel Messi. However, it is not so surprising considering the fact that Antonio Rudiger has only had the opportunity to play against a much older Lionel Messi. Messi in his younger years was incomparable.

This revelation might be surprising to many given Messi’s reputation as one of the greatest dribblers of all time. However, Rudiger has a specific reason for making this assertion. However, it is not so surprising to those who experienced Messi’s years. The fact remains that Antonio Rudiger has only had the opportunity to play against a much older Lionel Messi. Messi in his younger years was incomparable.

Lionel Messi
The Telegraph

Rudiger himself has previously praised Messi, acknowledging him as the best player in the world back in 2018. So, why does Rudiger now claim it’s tougher to defend against Haaland than Messi?

In a more recent interview, the German defender spoke about his excitement for facing tough opponents stating, “It is what I live for—those are the moments I love, when all odds are against you, when everyone talks against you.” Rudiger then shared his experience of defending against Erling Haaland.

“This is how it was with Haaland. I live for those moments. It is tough to defend against tall players like [Erling] Haaland or [Victor] Osimhen.” Further showing his love for tough challenges, he added, “But I prefer to play against players of this height—rather than players of the height like Lionel Messi for example.”

It is clear from this assessment that Antonio Rudiger only considers Haaland a tougher opponent because he is taller than Lionel Messi.

Haaland beats Messi for Golden Man award

The Golden Player Man award is presented to the best players over the age of 21, with the winner determined by a panel of specialists. This year’s panel included Edwin Van Der Sar, Alessandro Costacurta, Samuel Eto’o, Andriy Shevchenko, Rui Costa, and Pavel Nedved.

Lionel Messi

Erling Haaland was honored with the Golden Player Man award at the 2023 Golden Boy ceremony in Turin, acknowledging his achievements in winning the treble with Manchester City in June.

Lionel Messi may have beaten Haaland to the Ballon d’Or due to his World Cup achievement in the previous year, but the Bolden Boy awards are handed out based on performances in the current year, meaning that Lionel Messi’s World Cup triumph counted for almost nothing at the awards.


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