The Real Madrid attacker is set to win his 100th cap for his country against the Ulstermen and the 32-year-old is well aware of the task facing his side, both in terms of the match itself and handling the star.
"I have played a handful of times against him but maybe he has gone another level since his days in the Premier League, and maybe he can go further," Hughes told reporters.
"He has gone and become just as successful in Spain and maybe there's more to come from him. I don't think he has peaked, believe it or not. He is still going and appears to be getting better.
"The best players play at that level every single night whether it is the first game of the season, a windy night in November or the Champions League, it is just their way.
"It's not just technical ability, it is the attitude to reproduce that every single night. You look at sport in general, the likes of Michael Jordan, they are the best."