Marco Di Vaio has admired the patient approach Lazio have taken in building a squad capable of challenging for the 2019-20 Scudetto.
It is 20 years since the Biancocelesti won their second, and most recent, Serie A title with a star-studded team that featured Alessandro Nesta, Juan Sebastian Veron, Alen Boksic, Marcelo Salas and Diego Simeone.
However, in signing players such as Veron, Christian Vieri and Hernan Crespo around that time, Lazio later fell into financial difficulties and they have only produced three top-three finishes since Sven-Goran Eriksson's side lifted the title two decades ago.
Simone Inzaghi's current squad has not been expensively assembled, though they were on a 21-match unbeaten run and one point behind leaders Juventus when Serie A was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Former Italy international Di Vaio, who came through the academy with Lazio and made his senior debut with the club, has been impressed with how the club is being run.
"The current Lazio has been built in time," he told Stats Perform.
"The merit of the owner and the rest of the board members is to have built this squad piece by piece in time without selling the best players.
"They took some chances bringing in Ciro Immobile. They were great in discovering the talent of Luis Alberto and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and even Lucas Leiva. And they have done it without splashing money on the market like it was done two decades ago.
"At that time [former owner] Sergio Cragnotti spent a lot in a nick of time, but that Lazio endured less.
"This time they built and kept a strong squad backbone, always the same best players, giving trust and strength to the manager whose skills had been spotted by the directors.
"This is the merit of a solid club in the pitch and in the locker room."
Italy has been among the countries hardest hit by COVID-19, but it was announced on Wednesday that Serie A is set to resume with games behind closed doors on June 13.