Sir Alex Ferguson described Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona as the best team he’d ever faced after his Manchester United side were beaten 3-1 in the 2011 Champions League final.
Fergie’s team, who were beaten 2-0 by the same opponents in the 2009 Champions League final in Rome, were outclassed once again at Wembley.
Pedro put Barcelona 1-0 up midway through the first half before Wayne Rooney levelled the scores before half-time.
But second-half goals from Lionel Messi and David Villa saw Barça lift the European Cup for the fourth time in their history.
"They're the best in Europe, no question about that,” Ferguson said in his post-match press conference, per The Guardian. “In my time as a manager, I would say they're the best team we've faced.
“Everyone acknowledges that and I accept that. It's not easy when you've been well beaten like that to think another way. No one has given us a hiding like that. It's a great moment for them. They deserve it because they play the right way and enjoy their football.”
Ferguson hit out at 'stupid question' after 2011 UCL final
During the same press conference, Ferguson was asked by a journalist which Barcelona player he would sign if he received a blank cheque from United’s owners.
Dismayed by what he’d just heard, the fiery Scot described it as the “most stupid question I’ve heard in my life”.
Ferguson joked and named Javier Mascherano, much to the amusement of everyone listening, before adding: “You’re testing my patience”.
Watch the video here:
Lionel Messi was the obvious answer
While Ferguson’s comment about Mascherano was perhaps a little unnecessary - the Argentina international, who previously played for Liverpool, was a superb defensive player - the legendary United manager clearly felt that the answer was obvious.
Messi had just produced a Man of the Match performance against his team in the final and ended the 2010-11 campaign with 53 goals in 55 games.
The Argentine, who had won two Ballon d’Or awards by this point, was already being spoken about as arguably the greatest footballer of all time.
There’s no doubt that Ferguson, like every other manager, would have signed Messi above any other Barcelona player - including Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
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