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Cosmos' Ayoze has a worldly view

Cosmos defender Ayoze controls the ball in front

Cosmos defender Ayoze controls the ball in front of Carolina Railhawks forward Aaron King during the first half of a game at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium in Hempstead on Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. Credit: Brad Penner

Whether he has lined up at midfield or on defense, Cosmos left back Ayoze has played against some of the best players in the world.

When he performed for Tenerife and Sporting Gijon in Spain's La Liga, his weekly challenges included the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Raul. The latter is negotiating with the Cosmos for the 2015 North American Soccer League season and could become the 28-year-old Ayoze's teammate.

Ayoze and his teammates have to concern themselves with the present as the defending Soccer Bowl champions will try to take another step toward the playoffs against the Ottawa Fury at Shuart Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Who was more difficult to cover -- Messi or Ronaldo?

On a personal level, as a player, I like Messi better as a player. As a defender, I guess both of them, they are both very difficult, high caliber players.

How would you stop or contain Messi or Ronaldo?

I don't know. I'm not alone. By any means necessary.

Raul is negotiating with the Cosmos and checking out New York. Did you play against him and if you did, what was it like?

Yes I have. I was at Tenerife and he was at Real [Madrid]. As a kid I admired him. To have an opportunity to play against him was extraordinary. It would be great to have him with our club. He would help out in many facets.

So you think he still can score goals and play at a high level at his age (37)?

If he's here with us, he's going to help us out. If you look at him physically, he looks like the same guy [as years ago]. He's a great player. He obviously knows how to score goals.

How have you tried to convince him to join the Cosmos?

It's his decision to make. I told him of my experience. I mentioned that the team is a family here. I can only speak of my own experience to him here with this club.

You like to get into the attack, you get fouled a lot, not unlike Messi. Are you surprised you are fouled so much because you're a defender?

I don't feel like Messi, but at the end of the day, it helps the club if I'm getting fouled. I've experienced that physical mature of play by pushing myself up front.

What are the team's chances of making the playoffs and repeating as champions?

It has been a challenge this year, but the club is in good spirits. We're focused, we're motivated. We feel if we get in there, we have as good a chance as anyone to win the championship.

Do you have a favorite place in New York City?

I have a big passion and admiration for Central Park. Any time I have a free day, I try to get into the city with my family. I really enjoy Central Park.

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