‘Buffon deserved to be among Ballon d’Or candidates’

Turin, Oct 4 (IANS) Joining the chorus against his captain Gianluigi Buffon’s exclusion from FIFA “World Footballer of the Year” award entries, Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri felt the iconic goalkeeper “surely” deserved to be one of the 59 candidates for the prestigious Ballon d’Or trophy.

“I honestly did not expect. Usually the list of Golden Ball players who come with their team have experienced an extraordinary year,” Allegri told the club’s website on Saturday.

“And I think that Juventus last year has reached the Champions League final, has won the Championship, has won an Italian Cup, has won a Super Cup, and that in all that Buffon was among the leaders. Surely he deserved to be among the candidates,” the coach added about the 37-year-old, who also captains Italy.

Buffon, considered one of the world’s best goalkeepers, modestly admitted his surprise on Friday by saying he believed he felt himself to be “among the top five” goalkeepers in the world.

With 150 appearances for the Azzurri, Buffon, a World Cup winner in 2006, is Italy’s most capped player. He is playing for Italian champions Juventus since 2001.

He was also a runner-up in 2006 Ballon d’Or race won by his then national captain Fabio Cannavaro.

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