Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is keen to avoid Real Madrid in the next phase of the Champions League.

Ferguson is anxious to avoid old boy Cristiano Ronaldo and a Real ­Madrid side he ­believes are now on a par with ­champions ­Barcelona.

He said: "Madrid have ­improved this season and I see them as being as big a threat as Barcelona.

"They look every bit as good as ­Barcelona.

"They have so much energy and Ronaldo is Ronaldo. He's got more than 100 goals for them already - phenomenal."