Upon his arrival in the capital in the summer of 2012, Verratti was presented to the media on the same day as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but didn't stay in the shadows for too long. Far from it. Thanks to his ultra-fast adaptation, the former Pescara player quickly managed to translate the skills acquired in Italy's Serie B (second division) to Ligue 1 in France and the highest level of European competition. And as he did so, he became one of the fans' favourites at the Parc des Princes - not surprising considering the charisma of the Italy midfielder.

Blessed with top-notch technique, outstanding vision and a simply astounding maturity, Guffetto - or Little Owl, as his friends call him - has always thrilled lovers of good football, to the point of having made a name for himself in Italy - while playing in France! In March 2015, the day after yet another stellar performance - in the historic Champions League qualification away to Chelsea (2-2 at Stamford Bridge), Verratti was featured on the front page of La Gazzetta dello Sport with the unequivocal headline: "The best Italian player".

It was an anointing for a player who now enjoys the full faith of his national team coach. In fact, Antonio Conte recently asked Verratti - who is just 23 years old - "to assume the leadership of the national team". So it seems the Paris number six will lead his side at the next Euro - in his adopted country. A just reward for this talented player who seems to just keep improving.

In four years, the native of Pescara has seen his career take off like a rocket. Nurtured and guided by Carlo Ancelotti, Marco Verratti has become a keystone in the three-man midfield favoured by Laurent Blanc, who never misses an opportunity to underline the importance of this "very, very good player". Named several times in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year, season 2013-14's Young Player of the Year wasn't far from earning the senior gong the following season as he convinced all concerned of his great quality.

Valdo, who played for Paris from 1991 to 1995, is one of Verratti's biggest fans: "He is very, very good. Despite his small stature, he always manages to find solutions". For Verratti's midfield partner Thiago Motta, it's simple: "He's a phenomenon, a really great player. He's young, but he has accrued an incredible amount of experience. In the middle of the park, he can do anything."

For some, Verratti doesn't score enough (three goals, including a header against FC Barcelona!) but at 23 years of age and now with a contract extension until 2020, Marco has plenty of time to thrill the fans at the Parc des Princes as he continues his meteoric rise towards the summits!