Claudio Bravo
Claudio Bravo joined Manchester City from Barcelona in the summer Getty Images

Manuel Pellegrini has come out in defence of under-fire Claudio Bravo, claiming that the Manchester City number one is the best goalkeeper in the world. The current Hebei China Fortune boss suggested that the English press was just being too "harsh" on the former Barcelona star because he replaced England number one Joe Hart at the Etihad Stadium.

Bravo, 33, swapped Barcelona for the Etihad Stadium during the summer transfer window after City paid €18m (£15m, $19.1m) plus add-ons to lure him away from the Nou Camp, where he had garnered a big reputation due to his ability to shape the game playing from the back.

But Guardiola's double decision to get rid of Hart and sign the Chilean international has since been under intense scrutiny. City's current number one has been at fault in a number of key games, including the Manchester derby and the Champions League 4-0 defeat to Barcelona.

Critics have also suggested Bravo could have done more to stop Willian's second goal in Manchester City's 3-1 defeat to Chelsea on Saturday (3 December).

But Pellegrini has hit back at the critics, claiming that his compatriot was the "best goalkeeper in the world".

"It's not that the English are off with Bravo," Pellegrini told Fifa. "The [English] press is harsh with the whole world. Moreover, Bravo replaced Hart, who played for England. But if Bravo went from Real Sociedad to Barcelona and Barcelona to City, it's because he's the best goalkeeper in the world."

Pellegrini was tipped to become Bravo's national team manager following his summer departure from Manchester City. However, the former Real Madrid boss decided to turn down the Chile job to join Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune.

"Why did I turn it down? Firstly, because [the proposals] always came when I was under contract," Pellegrini explained. "Secondly, because national team work bores me. You have matches in September, October, November and March. And in June, when the Copa America's on. The rest of the time you have to work in an office, and I like to be out on the pitch."