Andrea Pirlo played down talk Sandro Tonali was similar to him, saying the Brescia midfielder was "much more complete".
Tonali has been linked with Serie A giants Juventus and Inter after starring for Brescia, while he made his Italy debut last year.
The 20-year-old has drawn comparisons to Italy great Pirlo , but the former Juventus and Milan star believes Tonali could be even better.
"It is said that he may be my heir, but I don't see many things in common," he told Nicolo De Devitiis during an Instagram Live chat on Monday.
"He is another type of player. He is much more complete both in the defensive phase and when he sets up. He is a mix between my characteristics and those of other players.
"He is the most promising of midfielders. He will surely become a great player."
Tonali is contracted to Brescua until the summer of 2021 - as clubs outside of Italy such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester City also interested in his services.
However his agent Beppe Bozzo is adamant Tonali would be better placed to stay in his homeland at a 'top club'.
"There are undoubtedly important prospects for Sandro, at his age few get the chance [to move to a big club]," Bozzo told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"It's better for Sandro to stay in Italy. He can immediately establish himself at a top club and for Serie A it would be a shame to lose him."
Tonali's future has been a talking point with the Serie A season suspended since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pirlo hopes the campaign can be completed, with Juve having held a one-point lead over Lazio when it was paused.
"Health comes first, then if you can finish the championship then all the better," he said.
"It won't be an easy choice. We hope it will happen. Football makes many people work, maximum safety must be guaranteed.
"If one person is infected, everything must be blocked again."
There have been more than 286,000 deaths from coronavirus worldwide, with the death toll in Italy exceeding more than 30,000.