Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini believes Vincent Kompany has the potential to be the best defender in the world.
The Belgium international has played a pivotal role in shoring up City's defence this term, playing in all but one of their Premier League games ahead of the final day.
Signed from Hamburg in August 2008, Kompany has taken time to settle in but former Inter Milan boss Mancini insists the best is yet to come.
"Vincent can become number one in the world," said the Italian. "He has always played at a high level. When he was at Anderlecht and I was at Inter, I wanted to buy him.
"He was a good player then. He has improved a lot and now is one of the top defenders in Europe. But he can improve even more."
Mancini continued his praise of the 25-year-old, adding that City's defence can improve if they can add quality to fit around the mentally strong Belgian next season.
"If we have good defenders and improve the way we defend, it will be easier for us," he said.
"Vincent is incredible. He has a fantastic mentality. His attitude has been excellent. Without doubt he has been one of our top players this year."
City travel to Bolton on the final day of the season hoping for the win that would secure their automatic qualification for the UEFA Champions League.
Arsenal could still reclaim third spot if results go their way, but Mancini is focused on winning to avoid a fixture pile-up at the beginning of the season.
"This game is very important," said Mancini, whose side are likely to be unseeded should they be forced to qualify for Europe's premier club competition.
"If we can do a normal pre-season and can prepare properly before the Community Shield and start of the Premier League, everything is fine.
"But if we also have qualifying games, it is different for us."