Luis Suarez reckons Real Madrid's new signing could be "the new Pirlo"
But where's the beard, the perfectly coiffed hair and the ruby-tinged rim of a wine glass pressed to the lips. (Yes, that is how we will always picture Andrea Pirlo)
It's in the realm of transfer regrets, rather than suaveness, that Luis Suarez is talking when he compares Real Madrid's latest signing Mateo Kovacic to Italy legend Pirlo.
Madrid today announced the signing of 21-year-old Croatia international Kovacic and Suarez (the former Inter player, not the Barca striker) believes that Roberto Mancini could go on to rue the decision to let him leave, the way that Inter went on to regret letting Pirlo move to city rivals AC Milan in 2001.
"Mateo had to become the focal point of Inter's future, and when you saw him play, you could tell he was on another level compared to the others," Suarez told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"The comparison with Pirlo is apt; even Andrea left because the club did not have the patience to wait for him to mature, and then he became the player everyone knew he would. Kovacic has the quality to become the new Pirlo."
Suarez concedes that Kovacic may, right now, have some defensive frailties but again compared his weaknesses in that area to those of a young Pirlo.
"Don't tell me he struggles in the defensive phase because at the same age Pirlo defended badly, but then improved in that aspect of his game," Suarez said.
"The boy needed teammates at a higher level that could help him grow, but instead he found himself as a leader at 20 years of age, and [thus] assume responsibilities that were too big so that his flaws have been magnified and his productivity disappeared."
They're some big, sexy shoes to fill.