Sir Alex Ferguson said on Monday that despite speculation identifying Pep Guardiola as his potential successor as Manchester United manager, the Spanish coach would be better off staying at Barcelona.
Ferguson revealed recently that he will continue working for another three years and when he eventually steps down, Guardiola is likely to feature highly among the list of contenders to replace him at Old Trafford.
The pair have been nominated alongside Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho for the FIFA Coach of the Year award but at Monday's ceremony in Zurich, Ferguson suggested that Guardiola might not even want the job.
"Why would Pep want to leave Barcelona? If I was in his position, I would firmly stay where I was," Ferguson told reporters.
"The Barcelona team at the moment is by far the best team. We have experienced three years of it and sometimes in football you have to hold your hand up and say 'They are better than us.'
"It's not a crime or a weakness, just a plain fact that the Barcelona team now, particularly with Lionel Messi in the side, are just an extraordinary team.
"I can't see anyone taking a trophy from them this year, Real Madrid are probably the nearest to them," added Ferguson, who has twice come off worse in Champions League finals against Guardiola and Barcelona.
Messi is expected to win the FIFA Ballon d'Or for the third consecutive year and Ferguson said the 24-year-old Argentine had already earned his place among the game's all-time greats.
"I would agree with that completely," said the Scot. "Critics have always questioned whether players like Pele from the 50s could play today.
"The answer to that is great players would play in any generation. Lionel Messi could play in the 1950s and the present day, as could (Alfredo) Di Stefano, Pele, (Diego) Maradona, (Johan) Cruyff, because they are all great players.
"Lionel Messi without question fits into that category."
Messi has been nominated for the award alongside his Barcelona team-mate Xavi and Ferguson's former protege Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid.