By Manchester correspondent Alex Stevens

Rio Ferdinand has claimed that Paul Pogba will usurp Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to become the best player in the world “in the next three or four years”.

Manchester United legend Ferdinand believes Sir Alex Ferguson should have played Pogba more often to prevent him signing for Juventus in 2012.

The 22-year-old Frenchman has become one of the world’s most coveted players and was the subject of a £58.4million bid from Chelsea in the summer.

Asked whether he thinks Ferguson made a mistake in not selecting Pogba more regularly, Ferdinand said: “I do, but that’s with hindsight. Sir Alex Ferguson would say the same thing.

“I think he has the personality to be the best. I think Pogba really will go on to be the best player in the world in the next three or four years. He’s got that personality. That desire to be the best player.

“The way he trains, the way he looks at his game. He believes in himself like not many other players I’ve seen.”

The Ferdinand Paul Pogba insight came before the midfielder delivered an  impressive display for last season’s Champions League runners-up. Juventus overcame a one-goal deficit to beat Manchester City 2-1 at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night.

Speaking on BT Sport ahead of the match, Ferdinand recalled the conversation he had with the France international in 2012 when it emerged that he had rejected United’s contract offer and would leave the club for a small compensation fee of £800,000.

“I asked him. “Why are you going? Where are you going? You’re going to Juventus. That’s not as good a league as the Premier League. You’re at Manchester United. Where are you going? What are you doing?

“He looked at me deadpan and went: “I want to be the best player in the world and I’m not playing. I want to go and play.’ Potentially, Pogba can be a Ballon d’or winner.”