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'In any other era we might have won five or six European Cups' - Scholes laments 'ridiculous' Real Madrid and Barca teams

09:08 BST 01/06/2020
Xavi - Paul Scholes
An ex-Old Trafford favourite says the Red Devils were "unlucky" not to enjoy more continental success during his playing days

Paul Scholes has lamented the "ridiculous" Real Madrid and Barcelona teams that thwarted Manchester United in the Champions League, insisting that "in any other era we might have won five or six European Cups".

Scholes racked up over 700 appearances for United during a stellar playing career spanning 20 years, and earned a place in the club's hall of fame for his superb performances in midfield.

The former England international picked up 11 Premier League winners' medals and lifted the Champions League on two occasions, but also endured plenty of heartbreak on the European stage.

United were beaten by Barcelona in the final of the competition in both 2009 and 2011, as they failed to prevent the likes of Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o and David Villa from running riot in the final third of the pitch.

Pep Guardiola created a side which is still considered to be one of the greatest in football history, and Scholes says United were unfortunate to come up against such a formidable outfit during their own golden era.

"We were quite unlucky really. In any other era we might have won four, five, or six European Cups," the Red Devils legend told the A Goal In One Podcast. "But the teams that were about - you look at Guardiola’s Barcelona team. Jesus, how good were they?!

"You could go right through the team. In midfield, you had Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Lionel Messi. Henry on the left. Centre halves of Gerard Pique and Carlos Puyol. Just unreal. They’re without doubt the best team I’ve played against. They’re one of the best teams that has ever been."

Scholes went on to admit that United were also outclassed by Real Madrid's 2002-03 team, which knocked them out of the Champions League 6-5 on aggregate in a pulsating quarter-final tie.

"If I go a bit further back I think of the Real Madrid side that we played against," said the 45-year-old. "We got absolutely battered in the Bernabeu one year. 3-1 it was in the first game but what a team that was. It’s not far away from that Barcelona team.

"They had the Brazilian Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Redondo was unreal, Raul, Roberto Carlos, Hierro, Iker Casillas in goal, that was a team that was just ridiculous.

"We came up against some ridiculous teams. We did alright against them but Barcelona just had that edge over that great Real Madrid team."