"Nobody's given us a hiding like that but they deserve it,” he was quoted as saying by BBC Sport after his side’s 3-1 loss.
Praise doesn’t come much higher than that. Ferguson is one of the most successful football managers of all time; a trophy-winning machine who lifted the Champions League twice with the Red Devils during his 26 years at Old Trafford.
But the legendary Scot was absolutely spot on. Barcelona were on a different level to United that evening and made Ferguson’s men look like schoolboys at times.
United may have been playing in their home country but it was Pep Guardiola’s side who enjoyed 68 per cent possession.
Pedro opened the scoring in the 27th minute but Wayne Rooney’s fine finish meant the two teams went into the break all square.
Lionel Messi, though, scored in the 54th minute before David Villa made sure of the victory with an excellent finish with 20 minutes left to play.
Xavi reveals what Rooney said to him
United were chasing shadows during the closing stages of the match and Xavi has revealed how Rooney approached him and pleaded for Barcelona to take their foot off the gas.
“Rooney came up to me before the end of the game. It must have been around the eighty minute mark, something like that,” the midfielder was quoted as saying in Andres Iniesta’s recently released book, ‘The Artist’.
“And he said to me: ‘That’s enough. You’ve won. You can stop playing the ball around now.’”
Barcelona could have scored at least one more
Fortunately for Rooney and his teammates, Barcelona didn’t go hunting for a fourth goal.
That really would have rubbed salt into the Premier League side’s wounds.
Remember: United had also been beaten, fairly comfortably, by the same opponents just two years earlier in Rome.
Here are some highlights of the 2011 Champions League highlights.
United fans: look away now...