Gus Poyet states without hesitation that Gianfranco Zola is the best player he ever played with.
The popular midfielder, at Spurs 2001-2004, returns to the Lane tomorrow to catch up with the little Italian - the star attraction of our friendly opponents Cagliari.
Gus spent four seasons with Zola at Chelsea before switching to Spurs in June 2001.
"As a player, I have said before and say again, he is the best player I have played with in my whole career," insisted Gus.
"When I'm asked I always say Gianfranco and Francescoli of Uruguay were the best two I played with.
"He has everything you can ask of a player in his position and gives you something that is very hard to find in football. He has qualities that are almost impossible to find in one player - in Gianfranco you get a very good attacker, a very good offensive midfielder and a very good technical player."
The pair's friendship stems from Gus's arrival at Stamford Bridge in 1997. "It was mainly because of the language and it was difficult for me to connect with everyone," he revealed. "So I spoke French with Frank Leboeuf and I was able to speak to the Italian guys.
"I had great times with Gianfranco on the training ground, the pitch, the golf course and away from football, our families got on so well and that was important.
"It was easy for me on the pitch. I didn't need to do too many things because Gianfranco would put the ball in there for me to finish. His movement, the way he took free-kicks, I always said in a way I used him to score goals."
Meanwhile, it is true to say that no-one in the game has a bad word to say about Zola. "It is true, he is a wonderful person," added Gus. "In fact, he's so nice, you would sometimes say he's too nice to play football. You expect a footballer to have a nasty streak and perhaps not be as nice as everyone says, but Gianfranco is. He says yes to everyone, does everything, lots of work for charities, wonderful."
Gus went on to play almost 100 games for us before being released at the end of last season.
He has been linked with a move to Qatar and revealed: "There is nothing yet on that move. I am waiting. I've been watching football and tomorrow I will be at White Hart Lane watching Tottenham against Cagliari.
"All I will say is the next 10, 15 days will be very important for my future."