Fergie salutes 'extraordinary' Barca

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has paid tribute to the side he believes is the best in the world - Barcelona.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of FIFA's annual awards ceremony in Zurich, the Scot was happy to lavish praise on Pep Guardiola as the pair go head-to-head for the Coach of the Year award alongside Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho.

And, whilst Ferguson would love to add to his illustrious medal collection, he's well-aware that Barca are, in his mind, head-and-shoulders above the rest in world football and favourites to retain their Champions League title.

"We have experienced two years of it. It's not a crime and it's not a weakness in my belief in my own team. It's just plain facts that the Barcelona team just now, particularly with Lionel (Messi) in their side, are just an extraordinary team," said Ferguson.

"I can't see anyone taking the trophy from them. Real Madrid are probably the nearest to them.

"Sometimes in football you have to hold your hand up and say, 'yeah, they're better than us'."

Ferguson was also questioned on the possibility of Guardiola succeeding him as manager at Old Trafford, but with the former Spanish international sat next to him, he questioned why the 40-year-old would leave the Nou Camp for the Red Devils.

"Why would Pep want to leave Barcelona first of all? If I was in his position, I would firmly stay where I was."

On the pitch, Barcelona aren't having things all their own way in La Liga, and now sit five points behind Madrid at the top of the table after a disappointing draw against Espanyol in the Catalan derby last night.

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