Bundesliga legend Lothar Mätthaus has showered praise on Matthias Ginter, likening the Borussia Mönchengladbach and Germany defender to Real Madrid and Spain counterpart Sergio Ramos.
Ginter, 26, has not missed a second of the action for Gladbach this season, and underlined his reputation as one of Germany's best young defenders as the Foals took the fight to Ramos' Madrid in the UEFA Champions League group stage and very nearly won.
Despite late Karim Benzema and Casemiro goals cancelling out Marcus Thuram's brilliant brace and ensuring a share of the spoils in the Group B encounter at Borussia-Park, Gladbach - and Ginter in particular - came up smelling of roses.
"Ginter has become a leader at the back, in a similar way to Ramos at Real," Matthäus told Sky Germany.
"He doesn't just give instructions to his teammates, but leads them as well. That's what Ginter is doing really well at the moment. He reminds me of Ramos."
In a similar vein to Ramos' career catching fire after joining Real from Sevilla in summer 2005 - the Spaniard has since lifted five La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, the FIFA World Cup and two UEFA European Championships - Ginter's stock has boomed since swapping Borussia Dortmund for Gladbach.
The Freiburg product has only missed 10 league games across his three full seasons at the club, and in 2019/20 ranked among the Bundesliga's top 10 for challenges won, underpinning a Gladbach ensemble that secured Champions League football for the first time in four years.
"He's full of confidence nowadays, and has become a big personality," explained Matthäus, who spent five formative years with Borussia, before switching to Bayern in 1984 and later moving to Inter Milan.
"In the past, he wasn't as vocal and tended to follow the pack. Now he's taking on responsibility and making important decisions - defensively and in attack."
Watch: Matthias Ginter was key to Gladbach's top-four finish in 2019/20
Ginter's comprehensive performances at club level - embellished by a Ramos-esque return of nine goals and four assists in 97 Bundesliga outings for Gladbach - are beginning to bear fruit on the international stage.
An unused substitute at the 2014 World Cup, he made four appearances as Germany added the FIFA Confederations Cup to their collection three years later, before becoming a regular under Joachim Löw in the post-2018 World Cup cycle.
Having started five of Germany's eight UEFA 2020 qualifiers, and featured in all four of their 2020/21 UEFA Nations League fixtures to date, the Gladbach No.28 is expected to command a first-team place when the three-time European champions attempt to emulate Matthäus and the triumphant class of 1980 at next summer's rearranged Euros.
By that point, Matthäus hopes Gladbach will have kitted out their defensive lynchpin with a new deal.
"His current contract is up in 2022, but Borussia need to sit down with him and tie him down for longer," opined the 1990 Ballon d'Or winner.
"Ginter has made huge strides of late, and is only going to get better."
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