Real Madrid trainer Jose Mourinho has voiced his opinion that Sergio Ramos is one of the best defenders in the world when he is on top of his game.
The Portuguese coach had dropped Ramos from the starting XI for Madrid's Champions League opener against Manchester City, and a number of reports suggested that the centre-back had fallen out of favour.
However, the Spain international was reinstated against Rayo Vallecano, and Mourinho has stressed that he still rates the defender highly.
"When Sergio Ramos is on top of his game, he gives me everything I look for in a defender," Mourinho stated at a press conference.
"He brings defensive stability, is strong in the air and from set pieces, and has leadership skills.
"He is one of the best defenders around in the game when he is in good form."
Mourinho then went on to discuss the situation of Mesut Ozil, who has been struggling to replicate last year's form in the opening weeks of the 2012-13 campaign.
He added: "He is working hard to improve. We have a great team with some superb players in midfield. A player who wants more playing time has to earn it.
"He is a player with a lot of quality, who I admire and who respects his coach. He will improve and reach top form again."
Ozil has made eight official appearances for Madrid this term, but has yet to score, while providing one assist in the process.