Alex Ferguson insists that Cristiano Ronaldo is as good as his arch-rival Lionel Messi.
The Manchester United boss made his judgment as he awaits a possible reunion with Real Madrid star Ronaldo.
The Old Trafford boss has kept tabs on the £80million man since he left Old Trafford in June 2009 and believes he is right up there with Barcelona’s Argentinian ace Messi as the best of his generation.
Fergie’s men have a big chance of being paired with Jose Mourinho’s Spanish giants — and Portuguese winger Ronaldo — in this morning’s last-16 draw in Switzerland.
Ferguson said: “There is nothing between the two of them, they are both the best players in the world. “There will always be great players. You can go back to the 60s with Alfredo Di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas and Eusebio.
“Going into the 70s you had Johan Cruyff and Franz Beckenbauer and then in the 80s Marco van Basten.
“I think what we are seeing at the moment is that Messi is an exceptional player from this decade, along with Cristiano.
“I don’t think the rivalry against each other bothers them.
“I think they have their own personal pride in terms of wanting to be the best and I certainly know that about Cristiano because he played here at United for six years.”
Arsenal are the only other English club to qualify for the knockout stages and Ferguson believes it is only a blip.
He added: “Europe has been disappointing for Premier League teams in the last couple of years.
“Sometimes you get blips but I don’t see this happening consistently as I think English teams will always be challenging in the latter stages of the Champions League.”