'City will never be as big as United'
Former Manchester United chief executive David Gill claims global markets will prove difficult for Manchester City to conquer
Manchester City will never be as big as Manchester United in Asia and other global markets, according to David Gill.
The former United chief executive says his club's city rivals can never hope to catch up, regardless of how many trophies they win or how much money owner Sheikh Mansour invests in new players.
When asked about City's recent success, he said: "I’m not being arrogant here but it will never be as big as Manchester United in Asia and certain markets.
“Look at Liverpool, the club haven’t won the league for so many years, but they are very popular in Asia.
"The big teams with history and heritage, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Real Madrid, have that.”
Gill, who remains on the board of Manchester United, but stepped down as Chief Exec in 2013, also spoke about his memories of when City's billionaire owner took over the club in 2008.
He added: "The immediate reaction was, ‘we’ve seen it before with Abramovich (at Chelsea)’ and you have to deal with it.
“Clearly, he shook it up in terms of the investments he made.
“They made mistakes but they now have a very good team and you can’t argue with that."
Gill also paid tribute to the club's investment in the local area, saying: “I think you also have to give credit to their vision, so to speak. What they’ve done in conjunction with the Manchester city council in east Manchester is fantastic.
“If Sheikh Mansour decided he wanted to sell the club tomorrow, what he’s left there, in terms of the development of that whole area, is unbelievable and is great testament to what they have done."
“Clearly, they have raised their game and it is a very well run club.
“It’s very exciting for the Premier League. They will, without a doubt, be a long term player and a force to be reckoned with for many years.
“And I think Manchester United have got to respond to that as well as other clubs."