Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele has received a glowing tribute from his manager Mauricio Pochettino, who boldly compared the Belgian to three of the most impressive players he played alongside during his career.
Dembele has often gone under the radar at Tottenham, as his role in midfield is not very glamorous. Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Son Heung-min are more commonly singled out for praise due to their abundance of goals and assists.
But recent performances against Manchester United, Arsenal and Juventus have drawn the eye to Dembele, and Pochettino generously said that he would rank the 30-year-old alongside some of football's greats.
Remember Dembele gave Man United the runaround in 2012 with Fulham. They desperately needed him then. Six years on and it's still true.— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) February 13, 2018
"I have said before that he is a genius of football. I put him next to Maradona, Ronaldinho, Jay Jay Okocha," said Pochettino, quoted by the London Evening Standard.
"I think for me is one of the unbelievable talents in the history of football," he continued. "Of course always for him it was difficult to get fit, he always fits with his fitness.
"But now he is in an amazing moment and for me he deserves all the praises that people are giving him."
"He has changed the mentality of the club and the way everyone thinks; how to strive for perfection."@mousadembele sheds light on @SpursOfficial's quest for perfection under Pochettino— Sky Sports PL (@SkySportsPL) February 24, 2018
https://t.co/DWOkkHYxc9 | @SkyJohnnyP #THFC #COYS pic.twitter.com/b4HFysoNsK
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Dembele moved to English football when he joined Fulham from AZ Alkmaar in 2010. Two years later he was signed by Tottenham's then-manager Andre Villas-Boas, and under Pochettino the Belgian midfielder has gone from strength to strength.
Pochettino played alongside Ronaldinho and Okocha during their time at Paris Saint-Germain together. He also played with Maradona fleetingly during the Argentina legend's brief spell at Newell's Old Boys.