France winger Florent Malouda has labelled Italy's Gennaro Gattuso as 'one of the best midfielders in the world', ahead of Saturday's Euro 2008 clash.
The Chelsea man has warned his team-mates of Gattuso's quality and is aware that Raymond Domenech's side must stop him playing if they are to avoid defeat.
Malouda also drew parallels between the pivotal role Gattuso plays for his country, and the outstanding quality and experience of their very own midfield general, Claude Makelele.
"We have an exceptionally good midfielder in Claude Makelele who makes everything work for us. Without him we'd never be the same side and I wouldn't swap him for any player," Malouda told the Daily Record.
"But the Italians will feel exactly the same way about Gattuso and I can see why. He is the key that unlocks the door for them.
"He's an exceptional talent. He has so much energy, he defends, he passes and he attacks. He's the best player Italy have got and if they are going to win then he will have a lot to do with it.
"He's a passionate player who inspires those round abut him. It would be hard not to feel motivated when you look at how he goes about his business on the pitch.
"He is clearly one of the best midfielders in the world.
"But don't forget we have Makelele. He is our Gattuso and while I have total respect for Rino I'm happy to have Claude by my side."