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This evening’s derby encounter between Toulouse and Bordeaux may be a hard-fought affair, but there is plenty of respect being shown before the game by le Tefece’s former Rennes star...

Speculation over Yoann Gourcuff’s future continues to be blown around the French media on a daily basis and Toulouse’s key midfielder Etienne Didot (pictured) has recognised why, declaring the young French international to be Ligue 1’s standout player.

Le Tefece go head-to-head on Saturday evening against Gourcuff’s present side, Girondins de Bordeaux, with whom he is currently on loan from Milan.

“It’s always special to play against a friend,” explained 25-year-old Didot to the AFP news agency, referring to his young compatriot, who he played with at Stade Rennais. “During the previous match it felt strange and we almost avoided each other.”

The midfielder said he was not slow to recognise the quality of Gourcuff, explaining that he always recognised the potential of the player that he now believes to be the best in France. Gourcuff played in Rennes’ academy team, and it was there that Didot first saw him play.

“I quickly learned that he had the potential to explode and become one of France’s best players,” the Toulouse player stated. “For me this season, thanks to the confidence he has gained from playing in Bordeaux, he has become the best player in Ligue 1.

“Many people criticised him when he left for Italy at such a young age, however, he learned a lot there, both on the field and in his head.

“[When I first me him] I appreciated his humility and that is still true today. Despite everything that has happened, he has remained simple.”

Didot has also enjoyed a strong season this term, and he will make his return from a brief spell on the sidelines due to injury in Saturday evening’s match. Toulouse will be aiming to take advantage of the lethargy that has surrounded Bordeaux in recent times in order to push their way back towards the summit of Ligue 1.

Robin Bairner, Goal.com

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