Juan Mata has admitted UEFA Super Cup final opponents Real Madrid are the team Manchester United aspire to match.
Mata is part of the United squad hoping to make a positive start to the 2017-18 season by winning the UEFA Super Cup in Skopje.
Real Madrid stand in their way having won back-to-back Champions League crowns – a level the Spaniard does not believe United are far behind.
“We talk about Real Madrid and we talk about the Champions League winners, which the best trophy you can win in European football,” Mata said.
“They are the ones that everyone wants to beat. They have a great team and won the league in Spain as well.
“We know how good they are. But United have a great history and a great record of titles.
“We want, sooner rather than later, to be where Real Madrid were last season which is in the Champions League final.
“We know we are on our way and building a strong team. I think it’s not very big.
“We are talking about the best teams in the world, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich. Manchester United is there.”