Pirlo: Ronaldo, Messi deserve Ballon d'Or

After a scintillating Euro 2012 showing, many have called for Andrea Pirlo to be considered for the Ballon d'Or but the midfielder believes there are worthier candidates.

A battle between the two best footballers...

By ESPNSTAR.com staff

The playmaker made 411 completed passes in the tournament with only Xabi Alonso and Xavi having completed more in the final reckoning. The Juventus midfielder was lauded for his vision, passing technique and dribbling and former Denmark international Peter Schmeichel labelled his performance against Germany in the semi-final a "piece of art". 

And Italy's loss to Spain in the final was only the second defeat that Pirlo had to endure in fourteen months as he led the Bianconeri to an unbeaten campaign that culminated with the Serie A title. 

Many pundits believe that Pirlo should be considered for the footballing world's highest accolade even if he was not as productive as Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo or Barcelona's Lionel Messi who scored more than forty goals each for their clubs in the La Liga in the preceding season. 

Pirlo, however, disagrees and told Sky Sport Italia: "I don't believe that I can win the Golden Ball. For as long as there are Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and others around, it is right that they win it."

He was also happy to have heard that Azzurri coach Cesare Prandelli had extended his contract despite rumours that he would be stepping down from the post after the tournament. He also revealed that he was content with the performances of his team-mates in the final and remains optimistic of a bright future for the Italy national team.

"Given what he [Prandelli] was saying, it seemed as if he had a few doubts about his future," he said.

"But we all knew that he wanted to create a new squad, with a new brand of football, and it would have been horrible to leave after reaching an unexpected final.

"Now we are even more sure that we can do well with him.

"There is bitterness about the final which we lost badly, but we know that we did all that was possible. We were very tired and playing against a great side.

"We played some good football and we went all the way to the last game, but we had a bad day. Spain too, after a few games played below their usual standard, gave it their best and caused us problems."

Pirlo returns to pre-season training with Juventus and will likely feature in the coming season as his side seek to defend their Scudetto in the 2012/13 season. 

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