Legendary West Germany player and coach Franz Beckenbauer has said that he believes the English Premier League is the strongest in the world.
With four teams from England in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, the 'Kaiser' thinks that the league is ahead of the likes of La Liga and Serie A, despite England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008.
He told Sky Sports News: 'The Premier League in England is probably the strongest league in the whole world.
'You can see all these fantastic players in the Premier League and that's the key to success.
'If you look to the Champions League there are four teams left from England, so English football is still in the leading position in the world.
'The European Championships without England is not the same. England are still one of the best teams in the whole world.
'I think it was an accident. They needed a draw at home against Croatia and they lost the game. I feel very, very sorry for them.'
Beckenbauer also accepts that the lack of English players in the league is an issue, and highlighted Arsenal's starting XI as an 'extreme' example.
He said: 'The situation at Arsenal for example, it's an extreme situation because there is not one English player left in the team.
'But we don't have to look to England, we have to look to ourselves in Germany, 80 to 90 per cent of the teams have mostly foreign players.'