The Croatian frontman played with the Belgian midfielder at Wolfsburg and says a subsequent rise to prominence has come as no surprise
The Belgium international flopped during an initial spell in English football at Chelsea and a move to Germany was required in order to fully unlock his potential, with Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg benefitting from his considerable quality.
With confidence restored to his game, De Bruyne was brought back to the Premier League by City for £55 million ($67m) in the summer of 2015.
A standing as one of the finest playmakers on the planet has been established while at the Etihad Stadium, with the 28-year-old becoming a talismanic figure through two title wins and an historic domestic treble.
De Bruyne is now considered to be at the peak of his powers, with speculation suggesting he could be lured elsewhere amid a European ban for City, and Olic admits his former Wolfsburg colleague slips seamlessly into the “world class” category.
The Croatian frontman told the Manchester Evening News: “I think he’s been one of the best in the world at his position for several years now.
“He has a strong character and winning mentality – when you combine that with all the qualities he has, which are substantial, you get a world-class player who is performing at a high level year by year.
“There’s not much room for improvement – he is already at a top level physically, so he covers a lot of ground during the game, and if you look at the goals and assists, he’s doing great every year.
“For him, it’s only important to stay healthy and he can continue performing at this level, which is being one of the best midfielders in the world.”
Olic added on the progress made by De Bruyne during a productive spell in the Bundesliga: “He showed his qualities really quickly. As a forward, I can vouch for that – his passing, through balls and assists were off the charts good.
“Maybe at the beginning it was not easy to look at him as a star, but all of us who trained with him knew what he was a fantastic, rare talent who could only be stopped by injuries, God forbid.
“He showed his quality in every game, he was a difference maker.”
De Bruyne has gone on to take in 209 appearances for City, recording 50 goals, and is tied to a contract through to 2023.