Napoli's Faouzi Ghoulam is the best left-back in the world at the moment, according to teammate Kalidou Koulibaly.
The 26-year-old who extended his stay at the Stadio San Paolo until 2022 in December has also been tipped to captain the Naples outfit in the future by his Senegalese teammate.
Ghoulam has been out of action owing to an injury he picked up in a Uefa Champions League match against Manchester City on November 1 but, prior to the incident, he played a crucial role in Napoli’s 14-game unbeaten league run this campaign which ended with a 1-0 loss to Juventus on December 1.
“I am very close to Faouzi and we share a room at training camp, so I feel a little lonely now that he’s injured,” Koulibaly told El Heddaf TV.
“Maurizio Sarri is right to say his absence has a big impact on the team. Everyone knows the contribution he brings on the left. He is also a very positive presence in the locker room and I hope he’ll be back soon, because we really miss him.
“I am very happy he signed a new contract, as I was afraid he’d leave. I encouraged him to sign the extension and remain with us at Napoli, as he’s very important if we are to achieve our objectives.
“I see Ghoulam as a real leader at Napoli who could one day be our captain. I realise there’s Lorenzo Insigne after Marek Hamsik, but Ghoulam could take the armband in future.
“At this moment, Ghoulam is the best left-back in the world. I don’t say that because he’s my teammate, but because it’s the truth.”
The Senegal international who has established himself in the Light Blues defence since his arrival from Genk in June 2014, has hailed manager Maurizio Sarri for his continuous progress.
“My first season was needed to adjust, as I had to learn and understand Italian football, but with Sarri’s arrival, I made enormous progress," he said.
“We learn something new from him every day and in tactical terms, Sarri really perfected us. We just keep improving.”