"Brad stands comparison to any of the keepers that I was fortunate to play with, such as Peter Schmeichel and Neville Southall," he told the Lancashire Telegraph. "He's right in the top bracket.
"Brad's one of the best professionals that I've come across as a player and certainly as a manager.
"He's at the top of the tree because he works extremely hard to stay there."
Friedel is now 36 years old, but Hughes believes his commitment to yoga and other new ideas could help the American to stay in the game for a long time to come.
"He embraces new things and new thinking, such as yoga, and anything that could give him an advantage to prolong his career.
"I think Brad embraces things more readily than the other guys to push down a certain route. He's young in his mind and also surrounded by young guys.
"Obviously, with his professionalism and the way he looks after himself, his career can go on."