Football

Ferguson: Champions League success will return to England

Sir Alex Ferguson says English clubs will challenge for the Champions League again, insisting Spain's current domination is only part of a cycle.

The Scot helped Manchester United to two Champions League trophies during his time at Old Trafford.

That period included a run of three finals in four years during a period which saw the English Premier League represented in seven of eight finals between 2005 and 2012.

However, since then, only two times has an English club made the semi-finals and, in both 2012/13 and 2014/15, none made it past the last 16.

Spanish sides have won the trophy in each of the last three seasons, with an all-La Liga final in two of those.

However, the now-retired Ferguson believes Spain's reign could well come to end, as key men at Barcelona and Real Madrid - Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - reach the latter stages of their careers.

Ferguson told ESPN FC: "Success is cyclical.

DOMAIN IS IN SPAIN

"If you think about the 90s, it was AC Milan. In the 70s, Ajax; and Bayern Munich in the 80s; Liverpool, in the 90s; Italy, AC Milan; then England had a great spell with three teams about six years ago all in the semi-finals.

"We were in three finals in four years. (Now) the domain is in Spain. There's no question about that.

"The same question could be asked about why are the German teams, why are Bayern Munich not winning the Champions League?

"Why are the Italians not winning it? Why are the French not winning it? And why are the English not winning it?

"The moment, the cycle is with the Spanish teams.

"They're the best and that's why they're winning it. But that will change, that can change.

"You know, (Cristiano) Ronaldo will get older, (Lionel) Messi will get older. Can they replace these players? The cycle will change."

Leicester are the only English club in the last eight of this season's Champions League.

Spain, however, are represented by holders Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. - PA SPORT

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