Former Brazilian international and Real Madrid star Roberto Carlos has declared that Barcelona are still the best team in Europe, dismissing suggestions that their recent form has signalled the end of their successful era.
The 39-year-old, who played over 500 games in more than a decade at the Santiago Bernabeu, denied Barcelona were losing their touch after recent defeats to AC Milan in the first leg of their Champions League tie and to Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey and La Liga.
Carlos told AS: "Barcelona are still the best team in Europe. Despite the absence of their head coach [Tito Vilanova], they remain a very strong team. You cannot dismiss them after just three losses.
"I believe that they can turn things around against Milan. The problem with Barcelona is that they have been playing together for a long time and suffer from mental fatigue."
Barcelona face AC Milan at the Nou Camp next Tuesday, needing to overturn the 2-0 first-leg defeat suffered at the San Siro in order to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
Carlos also believes former side Real Madrid will progress to the last eight of Europe's premier competition, although he thinks Manchester United will provide a tough challenge.
"Madrid can put in a good performance as they are high on confidence," he said. "It will be very difficult as it's an away game, but they can make it happen.
"It will be an even tougher game than the two matches versus Barcelona. United are very well organised and remain focused for the full 90 minutes. Manchester have a dangerous team."
Real Madrid travel to Old Trafford tonight, with the tie in the balance following at 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu last month.