Former Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla striker Frederic Kanoute has given his support to the Julen Lopetegui project in Seville and praised his old club for their consistency in mixing it with the elite of La Liga.
Sevilla are currently third in La Liga and have already secured Champions League football for next season following four consecutive victories, returning to Europe's premier competition after a two year absence.
"I really liked Sevilla this year," he said at a LaLiga media event attended by Tribalfootball.com. "I think it's one of the best teams and squads we've had for years actually.
"I really appreciate the work of Lopetegui, because that's the way I would have liked to approach football, with more possession and being positive. I think it's been very competitive, even against top teams."
Kanoute also spoke fondly of his seven years at the club, in which the French-Malian won two Europa Leagues and two Copa del Reys, but did not wish to compare the current setup to his time in Seville between 2005 and 2012.
"It was like seven crazy years of my life. When I arrived in 2005 nobody expected the storyline to be like this. I can remember the titles the first year I arrived, to win the first Europa league - but it was like it was not enough! We did it back to back, and add to that the Copa del Rey and the other titles. It was fantastic years of my life, not only at the club but personally because it's a fantastic city as well.
"To compare with other years, it's very difficult. We also had a very competitive and successful squad at the time. But the most important thing I'd say, instead of comparing, is to see the consistency along the years. Maintaining the club to such a great level I think is really good."
"Mane and Salah are fantastic players, and I think for them the only two clubs they can go to, being realistic, are Barcelona and Real Madrid," he said. "And even if it's not in my club, I would love for them to come to La Liga. It would be a fantastic plus for La Liga. Realistically, I don't know if it's going to happen, but they are fantastic players and they would be a fantastic added value."
Kanoute was also asked about referee bias in Spanish football, coming out in support of what he deems a difficult job, while highlighting the issue with video assisted refereeing.
"When you love football and are a fan of a particular team by definition you are biased, so whatever happens you will never be happy! I think the referees we always criticise them but we also have to congratulate them for a very tough job that they are doing.
"VAR, to be honest, hasn't solved the problems. At the end of the day there are people, human beings, behind them [the VAR decisions]. The interpretation will always be down to the human beings, and we are all flawed. We all have shortcomings and weaknesses, so we cannot be perfect and make the decision that is perfect all the time.
"The only thing the referees can do is their best, and we have to support them in their work."