Micah Richards has hailed Manchester City team-mate Vedran Corluka as one of the top right-backs in Europe.
Corluka enjoyed a quietly impressive first season at Eastlands following his switch from Dinamo Zagreb last summer.
He has also caught the eye with his performances at Euro 2008 as Croatia stormed through the group stages before losing to Turkey on penalties in the quarter-finals.
Richards has been watching the tournament closely and he feels Corluka has been the best player on show in his position.
"I think Corluka was amazing during Croatia's run in the competition," Richards told the club's official website.
"Every time he played he looked so steady and assured. In the tournament he showed that he's one of the best right-backs in Europe.
"In my eyes and from what I've seen in the tournament, I've not seen any better than him, if I'm being honest."
City were again difficult to break down at the back last season and Richards expects new manager Mark Hughes to make them even more of a force in the Premier League.
He said: "The defence has been a big strength of ours over the last few years and hopefully we can keep that going.
"With a new manager in place hopefully we can get some new players in, in all positions, to strengthen the squad and give it a right good go this coming season.
"Hopefully we can get to the end of the campaign and say 'we had a good season' - we don't want to be making excuses and saying 'we should have done this' or 'we should have done that'."