In the build up to the Europe's battle to decide it's best, when Manchester United and Barcelona play at the Wembley on Saturday, Catalan midfielder Xavi has come out with praise for United saying the Red Devils domination and sustained success should be a parameter for the Catalans to aim for.
For most part of the past decade, especially during Pep Guardiola's reign over the club, Barcelona achieved tremendous success and has been widely touted as the best club side in the world. The 31-year-old Xavi, in his 13-year-career at Barca has won six La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, one Copa del Rey and a FIFA World Club Championship.
Despite the success, however, Xavi feels Barca should try and emulate United in their continued success which started from the early 90s.
Xavi said in The Times, For me Manchester is the reference point - not just now but over many years. What Ferguson has achieved deserves a lot of credit. Ferguson, (Paul) Scholes and (Ryan) Giggs are references for everyone in football throughout the world.
They have been at the top for many years, playing at an extraordinary level. They have won leagues year after year and they keep reaching Champions League finals and semi-finals. They have a spectacular level and everyone in Europe still looks to them.
Xavi went on to express his belief that United's strength comes from their ability to play together as a strong unit.
The key is that they don't just have talent, but they work very hard for each other, he said. They can play in many different ways. If they score, they can sit back and defend the lead playing on the counterattack. The fact that they are so versatile again shows the great job that Ferguson has done.
They are an example of how to defend from the front. They all work so hard. There is solidarity about them, they are working for each other and I suppose that comes from Ferguson. He is the reason they are what they are.
Whilst Barca will be spearheaded by Lionel Messi, Xavi admitted that Wayne Rooney would be the one to keep an eye on for the Barca defence.
They move the ball quickly and the attacking players really stand out - Giggs, Rooney, Chicharito and (Antonio) Valencia. If I had to pick one out, then it would be Rooney. I would have said Scholes for many years, but he plays a little less now.