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Van Basten: Real’s front three as good as Barca’s

Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have netted a combined 97 goals for Los Blancos in all competitions this season, compared with the 120 netted by Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, who face a Champions League final against Juventus in Berlin on Saturday night.

The three have dazzled for Luis Enrique’s La Liga champions and Copa del Rey winners in 2014/15, but former Ajax and Milan frontman Van Basten has held back from calling them the greatest frontline ever assembled.

"I don’t know about all time, but they have three great players who are able to make a difference," the legendary Dutchman – Nissan’s ambassador for their UEFA Champions League final activity in Berlin – exclusively told FourFourTwo.

"But you can see at the same time, the forwards of Real Madrid with Benzema, Cristiano and Bale, I think they compare to the forwards of Barcelona.

The forwards of Real Madrid with Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale, I think, compare to the forwards of Barcelona

"Messi is the one who’s creating chances and also making goals; Suarez is more the player who is scoring the goals and Neymar is a little bit in between. He’s able to create chances for other players but he is also making goals. The more they play with each other, the better they are going to be."

Van Basten is a two-time winner of the European Cup, having lifted the trophy with Milan in consecutive seasons from 1989-90.

The 50-year-old believes Barcelona’s current crop are comparable to Arrigo Sacchi’s Euro-dominating side – if not better.

"They compare with us because still after a long time they are on a high level. On the other hand, I think that they are playing a little bit in a different way.

"They are playing nicer football to see. They are a bit more technical, with [Andres] Iniesta and also Xavi and Messi. They are really good football players, they like to get in good positions and are also good at dribbling and techniques.

"At Milan we were more physical. We had a good defence who were also able to play. We had power in the midfield, and we also had... let’s say cleverness.

"I don’t think we played as good as Barcelona, but in every position we had our specialists. So physically I think we were stronger, but it’s always difficult to say if we would be able to play at that level these days."

Marco van Basten is a Nissan ambassador for the UEFA Champions League final, where they will be harnessing fan energy to power the trophy to the Olympiastadion in Berlin on June 6. Click here for details.