Antonio Di Natale has revealed that Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez is the best partner he's ever had, ahead of his Udinese and Azzurri teammates.
The 37-year-old partnered the Chilean at Udinese from 2008 to 2011, and in the latter year Sanchez was nominated as the Serie A Player of the Month.
In an interview published today on Arsenal's official website, Di Natale admitted the 26-year-old was his best ever partner, ahead of Nazionale teammates such as Alessandro Del Piero, Luca Toni or Antonio Cassano.
“Yes he’s the best partner I had in my life,” he said.
“I’ve played with a lot of champions, but he is the best; and he’s proven it by performing for enormous clubs such as Barcelona and Arsenal.
“It’s quite easy to be a star in a little or medium team, where there is no pressure and where competition is far from ferocious.
“But to confirm your individual qualities within the biggest teams is something only few can achieve.
“I knew that Udinese had bought a good youngster from Chile who was supposed to be a real talent.
“Alexis was bought from Cobreloa and then loaned to Colo Colo and later to River Plate: he made the ‘jump’ to a bigger team [Colo Colo] and a different and more competitive league [Argentina] in his stride.
“We knew he was a star in the making and that, even though he was very young. I was amazed by his technical skills: he did things with the ball that were more typical of a juggler than a footballer.
“Although he is now a truly international star he hasn’t changed; there’s not a drop of arrogance in his attitude. He’s the same old boy he was in Udine.”