The Spanish giants are 13 points behind Barcelona in the Liga title race and the Madrid coach has already written off their chances of catching them.
And, while United are still realistically challenging on three fronts, Ferguson expects the former Chelsea boss to focus his attention on Europe’s elite club competition.
Ahead of United’s Champions League last-16 first leg in Madrid on Wednesday, the Scot said: “Their target is the European Cup. They got a bad start in the league and they’re chasing their tails because Barcelona’s form is incredible. So I think Jose has set his sights on the European Cup this year.
“He’d be the only person to win the European Cup with three teams, so it’s a fantastic challenge for him. I think the European Cup has always been important to him. He’s done a great job there, he’s got a terrific squad of players. But there’s no secret to his desire to win the European Cup.”
Ronaldo warms up for United clash with treble
Former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo warmed up for Wednesday’s meeting with his old club in the Champions League in perfect fashion as he scored his 20th hat-trick as a Real Madrid player as the Spanish champions cruised to a 4-1 victory over Sevilla.
Ronaldo was also involved in the goal he didn’t score as he squared for Karim Benzema to open the scoring.