Carlo Ancelotti has been impressed by the form of fit-again Bayern Munich star Javi Martinez as the new Bundesliga season approaches.
The versatile Spain international, able to play in defence and midfield, has seen his career in Germany continually interrupted by injury since moving to Bavaria from Athletic Bilbao in 2012.
The 27-year-old started just 11 league games last season due to knee trouble, having ruptured his cruciate ligament in a separate incident in 2014.
Martinez, though, has started both the Super Cup win over Borussia Dortmund and a DFB-Pokal triumph at Carl Zeiss Jena, drawing high praise from his new head coach.
"To be honest, I've been very surprised by Martinez," Ancelotti was quoted as saying by ESPN.
"He was the best player on the pitch against Dortmund and against Jena he reached the same level."
Martinez could partner Mats Hummels at centre-back when Bayern begin the defence of their Bundesliga title at home to Werder Bremen on Friday.