Wayne Rooney doubts whether Manchester United are capable of catching up with Manchester City either this season or next.
City are currently 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League table after 26 games, and could conceivably seal the title with a victory in the Manchester derby on April 7.
Rooney, who left United in the summer, feels that despite the January arrival of Alexis Sanchez, there may be too much ground to make up even next season.
“In terms of catching Manchester City, I think certainly not this season and if I’m being perfectly honest it will be difficult next season because of how City are playing,” he told Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
“They’re getting to the level of Barcelona four or five years ago. It’s not nice to say but if you can’t enjoy that style of football then you won’t enjoy football. It is great to watch, the movement and courage they have on the ball. Its almost perfect football at times.
“Pep Guardiola is putting the foundations in place trying to emulate that Barcelona team, you can see they’re certainly on the way to doing that. One or two more players in the summer maybe but I don’t think they’re far off.
“Obviously they have to win the trophies, that’s the main game. But in terms of how they’re playing and punishing teams, they’re not far away.”