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Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian believes David De Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world.

The full-back is well placed to judge keepers as he operates in front of De Gea at club level and is an international colleague of Gianluigi Buffon with Italy. When asked to assess their capabilities last year, he suggested Azzurri star Buffon had the edge but De Gea’s outstanding form this term has prompted a little rethink.

While, in Darmian’s eyes, Buffon is the greatest keeper ever, he concedes it is impossible to ignore the consistently top-class form of a man who now has over 100 clean sheets for United and is playing better than ever.

“I know David very well and I think, at this moment, he is the best goalkeeper in the world,” the defender told ManUtd.com. “He is very important for us and I think that save at Stoke [from Jese Rodrigues) was incredible.

“I think Gianluigi is the best goalkeeper of all time. He’s also a good guy. So I am lucky to play with two goalkeepers like this. Of course, it’s close [between the two]. I don’t know. I think David is the best goalkeeper in the world and Gianluigi is the best goalkeeper of all time.

“I think they are similar because they are very strong and they make very good saves. They also have good personalities.”

The two keepers faced off in a recent World Cup qualifier in Madrid, won 3-0 by Spain, as both countries bid to reach next year’s finals in Russia.

“We are in a tough group,” Darmian conceded. “Spain are, I think, one of the big teams but we try to reach our objective and that is to reach the World Cup. And I hope to see David in Russia!”