Sir Bobby Charlton believes Manchester United are looked on with ''envy'' because Nemanja Vidic wears their colours.
Vidic's team-mates have named him their player of the year after a string of impressive performances as a third successive title was secured.
The Serbian defender's next goal is to help United retain the Champions League crown on May 27 when they face Barcelona in Rome.
''He has been such an influence. He is the envy of the whole league and he has been a brilliant player for us,'' said United director Charlton. ''Nemanja is unbelievable in the air. He wins absolutely everything. He is so powerful and brave.
''He has a fantastic leap to get above the strikers. He also comes up for set-pieces and scores goals. As a defender he makes the full-backs, the goalkeeper and the midfielders in front of him all feel secure.
''He is a player you can depend on and put your trust in, and that is important. I like that he doesn't try to do too much, he sticks to his task of defending, and does that job very well.''
Vidic was the only ever-present outfield member of a defence that kept 13 successive clean sheets from late November to the beginning of March, the period in which Manchester United's record-equalling 18th league championship was effectively won.
Charlton added: ''It is hard for me to imagine that Manchester United would be congratulated and lauded for our defensive capabilities. We are not supposed to be defensive.
''But alongside Rio Ferdinand or young Jonny Evans, Nemanja has dominated our area this season.
''You also have to give credit to Edwin van der Sar and his other colleagues in defence.''