Ruud Gullit believes Barcelona will have to win and retain the Champions League trophy before they can be regarded as the best club side ever.
The Dutchman, who was part of the AC Milan team that secured back-to-back European crowns in 1989 and 1990, appreciates the talent the Blaugrana hold but feel Tito Vilanova’s side must equal the feat achieved by the Rossoneri 22 years ago.
"We retained the European Cup, which even the current Barca side couldn’t do,” the Dutchman told reporters.
“But there is no doubt that Barcelona are a great team and are ambassadors of the beautiful game."
Barca boast three-time World player of the year Lionel Messi amongst their ranks, but the former Chelsea and Newcastle manager thinks comparisons with Argentine great Diego Maradona are wide of the mark.
"Diego Maradona is the best ever in my opinion,” he said. “I never saw Pele play live but I have seen and played against Maradona, he is the greatest. Now Lionel Messi and Ronaldo are the two best."
In addition to Messi, Barcelona are also heavily supported by members of the Spanish national side, such as Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Gerard Pique and David Villa.
Those players have gone on to become the spine of a team to have claimed the last three major honours in a row – a first for an international setup - and Gullit predicts La Roja’s dominance to continue for the foreseeable.
"Everybody thought no team would play the kind of football that Brazil produced in 1970 World Cup. But Spain are doing something special and it would take another great team to end their domination," he added.
Whereas Barcelona have nutured the majority of their own talents, Gullit has lamented the financial model of the modern game which plays into the hands of richer clubs – but the former Netherlands international cites moves buy Uefa to curtail the issue as positive.
"Clubs like PSV and Ajax suffer because they lose their best talents very early because of the higher spending power of English, Spanish, and Italian clubs There should be a gentleman’s agreement to avoid that because players at a young age make the wrong choice.
‘Money is not the problem but clubs spending more than the money they make is worrying as they start having massive debts. Uefa are working hard on it (FFP) but let’s see it when it gets implemented.”
The Dutchman also praises the European governing body for their efforts in trying to stamp out racism from the game.
"Racism is a social issue,” he said. “Often it’s related to a poor economy or any other shortcoming in a country. As a result minorities are made a scapegoat but I saw at the Euros, Uefa are working very hard to fight against it."