Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Paul Scholes are all of equal talent, according to Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick, who would not be so bold as to select the best player from the esteemed quartet.

Carrick has been fortunate enough to have played alongside Ronaldo and Scholes over the course of his career at Old Trafford, while he has also found himself duelling Messi and Iniesta in a number of showpiece encounters.

But, says Carrick, all four players are of equal brilliance, even if the 32-year-old does have a particular soft spot for his recently-retired former Manchester United colleague.

"I think Scholesy is a genius. He's gifted and he's just a really special player," Carrick said in a Q&A with Puma, his boot manufacturer.

"I'd [also] say Cristiano [Ronaldo] when he was at the club, and then playing against Messi and Iniesta - I couldn't really single any of them out."

Carrick, meanwhile, was a late substitute as Manchester United ensured their path into the last 16 of the Capital One Cup with victory over rivals Liverpool and Old Trafford on Wednesday evening.

The England international came on in the 74th minute to replace Javier Hernandez, who had scored the only goal of the encounter.

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