Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti has described Marco Verratti as 'the new Andrea Pirlo', and has sympathised with AC Milan after the Italian giants experienced a poor start to the season.
Verratti made his debut for the Italian national team in August's friendly defeat against England in Bern, three months before his 20th birthday.
It capped off an eventful summer for the young midfielder, who had earlier moved from boyhood club Pescara to PSG for a reported fee of €12m.
"Italy can relax for the next World Cup, as they already have an alternative to Pirlo in midfield and his name is Marco Verratti," Ancelotti was quoted as saying by Corriere dello Sport.
The 53-year-old trainer was also keen to make his admiration of Italy international Andrea Pirlo clear.
"I think Pirlo could win the Ballon d'Or," said the 26-capped former Italian international midfielder.
Ancelotti was also asked for his thoughts on the fortunes of AC Milan, after the club, where he had successful stints as both a player and manager, experienced a poor start to their domestic and European campaigns.
"It's a shame to see the situation they are going through, but it is only to be expected after losing important players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva," said the PSG coach.
"They made history with the club and it's tough to create a new identity straightaway," he added.