Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola says he does not believe his side are the best team ever ahead of Saturday's Champions League final.
The strong Catalan base of the current Barcelona team, which also boasts a number of players from the Spanish World Cup winning squad, has been credited as the best team ever in some quarters after their recent domination of La Liga and Champions League success in the past two years.
However, Guardiola does not believe his side are the best team ever, and insists that the likes of Brazil, Saturday's oppenents Manchester United and Spanish rivals Real Madrid must all be considered when discussing such an accolade.
Guardiola told ITV: “I don't think so [that Barcelona are the best ever side]. When the people are watching this team if they enjoy we are happy, but we have to respect Brazil, Milan, Liverpool, Manchester or even Madrid for the best moments.
“It is difficult to compare, it is for example to say who is better - Pele, Maradona, Messi or Beckenbauer, all these kind of players in the right moment help to make football better than before.
“What would we like, in the coming 10-15 years people remember that in that time Barcelona played good football and we enjoyed that time when we saw that would be the best thing, but to say right now is impossible.”
The 40-year-old also reserved high praise for Sir Alex Ferguson's men ahead of their meeting at Wembley, insisting it is "an honour" to play against Manchester United in the Champions League final.
He added: “I think Manchester United in the last 10, 15, 20 years is always at the top, always compete very well in the Premier League and they have three times out of the last four years in the final of the Champions League.
“When I saw the Manchester United team two years ago my view, my impression, was it was a strong, strong team. From two years ago and the last four or five games, and the many games I have seen they are strong, they are competitive, each player knows what they have to do.
“It is an honour to play in the Champions League against Manchester United.”
Whilst admitting he is wary of the threat posed by the newly crowned Premier League champions, Guardiola does not intend to deviate from Barcelona's free-flowing style of possession football, but joked that his side do not have a very good defence.
“Want to try to keep the ball, to move as quickly as possible and attack as best as possible, and create the chances knowing when you miss the ball the problems Manchester can create against us," he said.
“Also we have to defend very, very well to resolve the big problems that Manchester create every game and obviously they're going to create in the final of the Champions League.
“We are going to try and play with the ball and attack, because we have a not good defence. We try to keep the ball, to control the game through the ball but we are up against one of the best teams of the world so maybe it is not possible but we are willing to try.”
Guardiola, who has spent over a decade at Camp Nou, also noted that due to the philosophy and culture of the club they will look to win the game in a certain manner, particularly with a number of the Barcelona starting XI coming through the club's ranks from an early age.
“Now 8 or 10 players have grown from here [Barcelona] since they were 10, 11, 12 years old,” he continued. “When you are a kid, and you start to play football in this club to win is not the most important thing of course.
“We try to use the mind and to compete as well as possible, but also with fair play and respect for the opponent, accept when the opponent is better, accept the mistakes of the referee, accept everything.
“I know these guys, I know this club because I came here when I was 13 years old, and here we try to respect everything. I know these players, and they are an example for the sport and for the image which is created for the rest of the world.”