Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti insists Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly is comparable to some of the game’s great modern defenders.
The 27-year-old Teranga Lions centre-back has been on the Neapolitans’ books since joining from Belgian side Genk in 2014.
Koulibaly has established himself as one of the best central defenders in the world, with Manchester United reportedly willing to break the bank to sign him earlier this season.
The likes of Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea have also been linked with the Senegalese, whose pace and strength feature as the most prominent of his characteristics.
Yet Ancelotti insists that it is Koulibaly’s mentality and intelligence that really makes him stand out.
“Koulibaly belongs to the category of [Paolo] Maldini, [Lillian] Thuram, Thiago Silva and Sergio Ramos. He's very intelligent,” said the Napoli boss.
“Usually those who are as strong and quick as him think nothing else is needed to resolve problems.
“I divide players into optimists and pessimists. He's a pessimist, he knows that [pace and strength] isn't enough, so he's very attentive and he has a strong character."
Koulibaly will hope to help Napoli defeat Serie A leaders Juventus when the teams meet in a top-of-the-table clash on Sunday night at Stadio San Paolo.