Pep Guardiola said Kevin De Bruyne is on a level behind only Lionel Messi after he starred in Manchester City's 4-0 win over Bournemouth.
De Bruyne was the standout player in a brilliant team display by City at the Etihad Stadium, where goals from him, Kelechi Iheanacho, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan secured a fifth straight Premier League win and eighth from eight games in all competitions this term.
And City boss Guardiola said: "I think he is a special, outstanding player. He makes everything. Without the ball he is the first fighter, and with the ball he is clear - he sees absolutely everything.
"Every time he makes the right decision. That is why he is a player on another level.
"We are lucky to have him and I hope he can enjoy playing his amazing football with us."
Asked if he thought De Bruyne was the Premier League's best player, Guardiola said: "I don't know.
"Of course, he is one of the best, there is no doubt about that, but to be the best, it depends on what you are going to win.
"If you are able to win titles, there will be a chance for that. Maybe. Maybe I'm wrong.
"I think he would like to win these individual prizes - all the players like that. But I think he is happy when he plays with performances like today."
When then asked about how De Bruyne ranked among the great players he has managed, ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola said: "He's one of them.
"When we talk about Messi, maybe he can sit alone in the table, with no-one else allowed. But in the table beside, Kevin can sit there."