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Tim Hales, Associated Press
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson gestures during their English FA Cup third round soccer match against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, Sunday Jan. 8, 2012.

ZURICH — Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson says Barcelona is "by far the best team" and should win the Champions League again this season.

Ferguson, whose United team lost 3-1 to Barcelona in a memorable final last May, says "it's not a crime" to acknowledge that "they're better than us."

Speaking ahead of FIFA's annual awards ceremony, Ferguson praised the Spanish, European and Club World Cup champion while sitting alongside Barca coach Pep Guardiola.

They are competing with Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid to be named the world's best coach in 2011.

Ferguson, whose team was eliminated from the Champions League last month, says Madrid is now "probably the nearest" to Barcelona.