As the man who brought through the likes of Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, Sir Alex Ferguson knows a thing or two about producing world-class talent.
And the former Manchester United boss has tipped Barcelona’s Brazilian star Neymar to be the next man to challenge for the title of world’s best player, competing with Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
But Ferguson says the 23-year-old, who has been a star since joining Barca from Santos in his homeland two years ago, is still some way off.
Sir Alex Ferguson has picked Neymar as the player to reach the level of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Neymar is the Brazil captain and has been in superb form for both club and country this season
Since joining Barcelona Neymar has been behind Messi in the pecking order, but he could emerge soon
‘You’ll always look at clubs like Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United to produce that kind of player you’re talking about,’ he told radio station SiriusXM FC when asked who can rival Messi and Ronaldo.
‘But to be honest I’m not sure there’s one sticking out at the moment. The boy Neymar gets a lot of publicity about the potential he’s got, but I think that’s still to be seen, still to be fulfilled.
‘Certainly, most people I speak to speak highly of the boy. When I had Anderson at United, he spoke volumes about the boy’s ability.
‘So hopefully he’ll be the next one who’ll produce the type of talent we see in Messi and Ronaldo.’
Ferguson insisted that there is no standout player capable of rivaling Messi or Ronaldo at the moment
The two stars are undisputedly the top two players in world football, sharing the last seven Ballon d’Ors
The Premier League’s most successful ever manager also backed Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, and revealed that the Italian reached out to Ferguson’s son, Darren, when he was sacked by Peterborough in February.
‘Carlo is a top man,’ said Ferguson. ‘I was over at the Real Madrid game with Schalke and he was fantastic.
‘He came up and he knew Darren had lost his job at Peterborough and said “Why doesn’t Darren come and spend a few days at Real Madrid training? It will do him the world of good”.
‘He was fantastic. I can’t say enough about that man. He is top drawer – a fantastic human being and a great coach.
‘Carlo is one of the best coaches I’ve ever come across and one of my biggest opponents, so I wouldn’t worry about his future, that’s for sure.’