Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho has similar quality to Ronaldinho and Lionel Messi, according to Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino.
The 20-year-old Brazilian has enjoyed a fine start to life at Anfield, having joined from Inter Milan during the January transfer window.
It was a time in which Coutinho was heavily linked with a move to Southampton, whose manager Pochettino knows the midfielder well after coaching him during a loan spell at Espanyol last season.
The Saints boss was coy when asked whether he had tried to lure Coutinho to the south coast, but more forthcoming when asked about the quality of the player in line to start at St Mary's on Saturday.
"What has happened in the past, happened in the past," Pochettino said. "We can't change it or do anything about it. Actually, talking about it is not going to do anything positive either.
"Philippe is a Brazilian player and, as it happens with most Brazilians, he has a special magic in his feet.
"Aside from the magic that he has, he also has an amazing work rate and that makes us doubt whether he fits the mould of a typical Brazilian player or a European one because his work ethic is outstanding.
"What is important about him is he is a good lad, a good kid - a great, humble person. I do think Coutinho has that same quality that Ronaldinho and Messi have, but he has much to prove yet.
"What is really clear to me is that Coutinho is a really responsible player - really dedicated and responsible to his own players."
Meanwhile, Southampton have let midfielder Richard Chaplow join FA Cup semi-finalists Millwall on loan.
The 28-year-old has joined the npower Championship side for two months and is expected to go straight into the squad for tomorrow's derby clash with Charlton.
Chaplow has made three substitute appearances in the Premier League this season and is eligible for the Lions' FA Cup semi-final against Wigan next month.