Robin van Persie is approaching the level of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi according to Sir Alex Ferguson.

The Manchester United manager was speaking ahead of the Red Devils’ Champions League last 16 first leg clash with Real Madrid when he claimed his star striker was close to the level of the world’s two best players.

Van Persie has been in terrific form since his £24million switch from Arsenal to Old Trafford in the summer, already taking his goalscoring tally for the season to 23 – 19 of which he has scored in the Premier League.

The focus before Manchester United’s clash with Real Madrid was mostly placed around the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to his old club.

However, Ferguson sent out a warning to Jose Mourinho’s side to not forget his prolific Dutchman and the damage he is able to do.

“Robin is approaching the level of Ronaldo and Messi. His arrival at our place has been nothing but sensational,” the Scot is quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph.

“He has been a breath of fresh air to the young players and also a good coach to them. Twenty-three goals tells you everything."

Van Persie will be tasked with getting something for United to take back to Old Trafford for the second leg, which takes place on Tuesday, March 5.

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