ALEX Ferguson believes Robin van Persie is approaching a level of football greatness which is only surpassed in the modern game by Cristiano Ronal and Lionel Messi, but the gap is closing.
Ahead of tonight’s mouthwatering tie at the Bernabeu, which has been billed as a battle between Robin and Ronaldo, Ferguson believes that Real are going to have as much trouble stopping Van Persie as they are going to have dealing with the Portuguese wizard.
"Robin is approaching the level of Ronaldo and Messi," said Ferguson. "His arrival at our place has been nothing but sensational.
"He has been a breath of fresh air to the young players and also a good coach to them.
"Twenty-three goals tells you everything."
Tonight’s game represents the first time Ferguson will face Ronaldo, a player he helped to mould, and he is amazed at the progression the player has made since leaving Old Trafford.
“Cristiano was such a young man when he left me and you can see how he has flourished in Madrid,” said Ferguson.
“I never thought he would get the number of goals he has scored.
“He and Lionel Messi are the best players in the world and Cristiano’s goal record is phenomenal."