Pep Guardiola backs Douglas Costa to be top winger in world
Pep Guardiola has praised new Bayern Munich winger Douglas Costa, saying that "he can become one of the five best wingers in the world."
Costa, 24, joined the German champions from Shakthar Donetsk this summer. The Brazil international became the second player in recent years to make the multi-million move from Ukraine's first league to Bundesliga, following Borussia Dortmund's Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who is going into his third year in Germany.
The versatile attacker has spent most of preseason on the left wing, where he has taken Franck Ribery's place. The former France international has yet to return from an injury which has sidelined him ever since March.
"He is one of the best wingers in the world," Guardiola told reporters in Munich on Thursday. "He can become one of the five best wingers in the world."
Guardiola explained: "He has a quality which is hard to find: The quality of his dribbles."
The winger particularly impressed in Bayern's Super Cup defeat at Wolfsburg, where he dribbled past Wolves right-back Vieirinha over and over again.
"I knew that he was fast," the Wolfsburg defender later said. "But he's too fast."
However, Guardiola also believes that Costa, who is set to start for Bayern in the season opener versus Hamburg on Friday, can not only play on both wings, but also in central attack.
"When he plays in the middle, he's got the intelligence and the eye to spot good situations," the Catalan coach said.
Elsewhere, the now infamous Bayern mole, who was last spotted in Guardiola's first year, has resurfaced from inside the club, and told German tabloid Bild of a speech by the Catalan coach.
"This year you only run like I want you to run," Guardiola told his players, according to the mole. "I call the shots where you run, and you listen. There is only one exception in this world, who would not have to do this: That is Messi!"