Leroy Sane has overlooked Manchester City team-mates in naming the world’s best players as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Eden Hazard.
The Germany international is among those to have been mentioned as a possible Ballon d’Or winner of the future, with his fine performances for City this season drawing widespread praise.
Sane is, however, of the opinion that he remains some way short of the best in the business, with the 22-year-old forward aware that he still has plenty of potential to unlock.
He is also prepared to acknowledge that none of those around him at the Etihad Stadium, including in-form Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero, are yet to reach the level of star turns at Barcelona, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.
Pressed by German newspaper Welt on whether he now sits among the global elite, Sane said: “No, I'm still far from being on their level. In the whole world, only a few players are.
“Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and Hazard are on a level no one else can currently compete with. The achievements of [Mesut] Ozil and [Edinson] Cavani are incredible, too.
“I'm not that far yet. To be able to play with freedom, I mainly need fun. I don't think and I don't set specific goals for a game. I just let things happen. If I clear my mind, everything else just happens.”
City’s success this season has been built around individual talents contributing to the collective cause, with Pep Guardiola having pieced together a star-studded squad.
Sane has provided 11 goals and 12 assists across all competitions and remains convinced that he made the right call in snubbing interest from Bayern Munich to head for England in 2016.
He added on his thought process when leaving Schalke: “When Pep called me and told me that he wants me on his team, I instantly knew. I had followed his time at Barcelona and at Bayern, and I played with Schalke against him. I recognised that he makes every player better.
“I also talked to Joshua Kimmich about Guardiola during this time. He told me: ‘Leroy, if Guardiola calls you and tells you that he wants you on his team, do it’.
“Of course, Man City is one of the best clubs in the world. I knew that something big was happening here. I wanted to be a part of it.”