Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney believes neighbours Man City will be firmly in the title race next term.
Last Week former United favourite David Beckham played down City's rapid development in recent years, saying "they are never going to be Man United".
But Rooney has acknowledged the threat they pose and is confident they will be among the Premier League contenders during the coming campaign.
"There are at least five or six teams that will compete for the championship this year, among them Manchester City," he said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"But in the Premiership, more than in any other country, you have to sweat even when you face teams that are at the bottom of the table."
Rooney is still only 25 but told the Italian newspaper he has no plans to move abroad during his career.
"I've never thought of it," he said.
"I'm happy in Manchester and in England, and I have my family here so I have no reason to leave."
If Rooney wasn't English, he admits he would like to play in Brazil's national team, but the United star has also been a big admirer of Italian football.
"I grew up watching Serie A on TV," he said. "It was football that everyone knew, perhaps the most beautiful in Europe.
"Of course, now it is not the same as before, but if you look a team like AC Milan, full of champions, it is always a good spectacle.
"I still enjoy it (watching Italian football). AC Milan is the team that I like best, even historically.
"We've faced them several times and I can't forget the two times they've beaten us in the Champions League."
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