Zinedine Zidane has heaped praise on Spain's Andres Iniesta – and compared the Barcelona star to himself.
Spain face France this weekend in the quarter finals of Euro 2012, with the reigning champions clear favourties for the game in Donetsk having finished top of a tough-looking Group C which included Italy and Croatia.
France meanwhile qualified second in Group D behind England after a disastrous 2-0 defeat against Sweden on Tuesday, and Zidane is fearful Spain, led by Iniesta, could inflict a heavy defeat on Les Blues.
"Iniesta is really impressing me," Zidane told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope. "He's got so much influence in Spain's game. He reminds me of myself, but he is more pale than me!
"I guess the press are being too tough with Spain. For me, the team are playing well, but it's not easy when their rivals are tight in defence."
Spain have never beaten France in a competitive fixture but did emerge victorious the last time the two teams met in 2010, and Zidane believes the reigning champions deserve their tag as pre-match favourites despite the criticism of manager Vicente Del Bosque for not fielding an out and out striker.
"Both Spain and France will need a good game to reach the semi-finals," he said. "My guess is for Spain, they are favourites.
"There is too much discussion over Spain's game, in 2006 we (France) got angry because of what the press were saying about us and we reached the final."