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'Nobody's given us a hiding like that'

Alex Ferguson has admitted that Barcelona are the best side that he has ever faced, after his Manchester United side were drubbed in the Champions League final last night at Wembley last night.

United were beaten 3-1, but in truth it could have been more, as the Catalan giants put on an awesome display of passing and pressing to neuter the English champions attacking threat. Only Wayne Rooney, who scored probably the best goal of the night, lived up to his billing, consistently causing Barca’s backline problems. But other than him it was all about Barca, and Lionel Messi, who carved United open at will with a sublime display.

‘Nobody's given us a hiding like that but they deserve it,’ Ferguson said. ‘They play the right way and they enjoy their football. They do mesmerise you with their passing and we never really did control Messi. But many people have said that.

‘In my time as manager, it's the best team I've faced. I think that great teams do go in cycles, and I think the cycle they're in at the moment makes them the best in Europe, there's no question of that. How long it lasts, whether they can replace that team at a certain point, who knows? But they certainly have the philosophy.

‘It's always difficult to say whether you'll be able to replace players like Xavi and Iniesta at a certain point. Probably not. But they are enjoying the moment and they deserve to because they play football the right way.’

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