Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has backed his club to cope without Cristiano Ronaldo and questioned whether Real Madrid's squad has the right balance to challenge for Champions League glory.
United sold Ronaldo to Real for £80m earlier this summer, with the Spanish giants also spending huge sums to bring in Kaka from AC Milan and Karim Benzema from Lyon.
The spending was prompted by the re-election of Florentino Perez as Real president. He was criticised in his first term for building a side containing sublime talent in some areas but lacking quality and experience in others, particularly in defence.
Ferguson sees a similar pattern emerging again, a view shared by his Milan counterpart Leonardo.
"I understand all too well that losing 26 goals from a winger is hard to replace, but we will try because it is the nature of our club that the expectations never change whether you have Ronaldo or (Antonio) Valencia," Ferguson said.
"I would not like to be (Real coach Manuel) Pellegrini picking his teams."
Ferguson joked: "I told Ronaldo when he left us that they will probably be playing him at centre-half; I don't think they have one.
"It is difficult with all their individuals to pick the right balance and that is part of it."
Leonardo, whose Milan side are involved alongside United in the four-team Audi Cup in Munich, must also cope without Kaka but is also hoping Real's 'galacticos' policy will come unstuck.
Talking about the first term under Perez, he said: "They did not win so much in the end. It is not easy to construct a team with talented individuals.
"To create a team, you need something more and we hope Real Madrid don't have that. Sometimes you need more than talent to win."
A small fraction of the Ronaldo transfer fee was reinvested to sign Valencia from Wigan, and he is expected to feature against Boca Juniors tomorrow.
Ferguson has attempted to play down expectations surrounding the Ecuador star, who he believes will need time to settle in at Old Trafford.
"He has the potential and we hope he will develop and will become a star of tomorrow," he said.
"Valencia is a player we watched throughout last season.
"He is young, athletic, has good power and I think, at the age of 23, he can develop at our club."
United face Boca Juniors tomorrow evening before playing either Bayern Munich or AC Milan in Thursday's final or third-place play-off.
Ferguson added that he had done his homework on tomorrow's South American opponents via late-night television.
"If you can't sleep at three in the morning in England, then you can see Boca," he said. "And I don't sleep at three so I have seen them many times.
"They are one of the best teams in South America. We had a very competitive game with them at Old Trafford three years ago."Reuse content