Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian believes teammate David de Gea has surpassed Italy legend Gianluigi Buffon as the world's best goalkeeper.

De Gea, 26, has been ever present in the United first-team this season, keeping a clean sheet in six of the club's seven Premier League fixtures to date.

Darmian rated Buffon as the better goalkeeper of the two when the question was put to him in a separate interview last year, but the Italy international said he had changed his mind following De Gea's impressive performances over the past 12 months.

"I know David very well and I think, at this moment, he is the best goalkeeper in the world," the defender told United's official website.

"I think Gianluigi is the best goalkeeper of all time. He's also a good guy. So I am lucky to play with two goalkeepers like this.

"Of course, it's close [between the two]. I don't know. I think David is the best goalkeeper in the world and Gianluigi is the best goalkeeper of all time.

"I think they are similar because they are very strong and they make very good saves. They also have good personalities."

De Gea, who joined United from Atletico Madrid for £18.9m ($24.7m) in 2011, has two years left on his current contract at Old Trafford.

The 26-year-old, who was named United's player of the season three times between 2013 and 2016, has not conceded a goal at Old Trafford since April.

He kept his 100th clean sheet for the Red Devils in the 4-0 win over Everton on 17 September.

De Gea said in an interview last month that he was keen to prove himself as the best goalkeeper in world football.

"I always want to be the best," the Spaniard told United's official website. "I train hard to improve every day, in every training [session], so I work really hard to be the best keeper in the world. I don't know who is the best at the moment but this is what I want – to be the best."