Former Manchester United man Park Ji-sung has insisted that Andrea Pirlo was 'the best midfielder in the world.'
The South Korean was full of admiration for the Italian maestro, who is to hang up his boots at the end of the current MLS season with New York City FC.
Park remembers clearly coming up against Pirlo when they represented United and AC Milan respectively, and he doesn't believe there was better than him around that time.
Speaking to Goal, he said: "He was not a big player physically, but his ability in passing, taking free-kicks, shooting from distance, play-making was the best in the world at that time.
"I believe he was a great player who could dictate the game. He was the biggest threat to any team who played against his team."
Park was the man tasked with trying to neutralise chief orchestrator Pirlo in the 2010 Champions League last 16 tie, and he was relatively successful in his duty as United surged into the quarter-finals after winning 7-2 on aggregate.
Speaking of the role Sir Alex Ferguson specifically assigned him, Park added: "I tried to block him so that he cannot be in possession of the ball. When he had the ball, I tried to prevent him passing the ball in front of him.
"To mark Pirlo was not easy. It was hard mentally, physically but consequently Milan had a difficult game against us."
There has been an outpouring of adulation for Pirlo since he announced his decision to retire, with many labelling him as one of the finest playmakers ever to have played the game.