The Magpies wing-back admits to having found it harder to keep tabs on a domestic rival than a Portuguese superstar he faced with the Netherlands
Wolves winger Adama Traore is tougher to mark than five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, claims Newcastle defender Jetro Willems.
The Dutchman is well placed to pass such judgement having faced two fearsome forwards with club and country.
Willems tackled Ronaldo when lining up against Portugal for the Netherlands at Euro 2012.
His most recent Premier League outing saw him face the considerable threat of Traore, with Newcastle taking in a trip to Molineux.
The 25-year-old wing-back fared admirably in that challenge, as Steve Bruce’s side took a point from a 1-1 draw.
Willems admits to having had a tough afternoon, though, with chasing the jet-heeled Traore considered to be a trickier task than trying to contain Ronaldo – despite the Juventus forward having bagged a brace for his nation in a 2-1 win for Portugal back in 2012.
“I have played against some very good players in my career, but no one quite as fast as Traore,” Willems said in the Northern Echo.
“He is unbelievable, definitely a beast. Not only is he incredibly fast, he is so, so strong as well.
“He’s known as the fastest man in football and now I know that is true. I like to think I am quite fast too – at least I did before playing against him! That was something else.
“I have played against Ronaldo, who is fast, but not that fast. Of course, he is so skilful but sometimes that is easier than being up against someone with such incredible pace.”
Willems, who is at St James’ Park on a season-long loan from Eintracht Frankfurt, added: “I played against Ronaldo in the Euros when Netherlands played Portugal.
“That was tough, but this was as tough an afternoon as I have had even though I thought I did quite well.”
Traore has been showered with praise in the 2019-20 campaign.
A product of Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy system has taken his game to even greater heights this term.
The end product which had been lacking in the past, leading to questions of his value, has been discovered in some style.
Traore has recorded five goals and seven assists across all competitions this season, with the promise of much more to come.