Pirlo is still the key player

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The 34-year-old remains a key player for club and country and his coach believes he is worthy of winning the prestigious award this year

Andrea Pirlo deserves to win the 2013 Ballon d’Or, according to his Juventus boss Antonio Conte.

The 34-year-old was pivotal in the Old Lady’s surge to Scudetto glory last season, and remains a key man for both the Bianconeri and Italy.

And though the likes of Franck Ribery, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are clear favourites for the award, Conte admits he would give it to the classy playmaker.

“For me, if there was one winner it would be Pirlo,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I know it’s unlikely to happen, what with players like Messi, Ronaldo, Ribery and [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic up for the award, but he deserves it. It would be great to see him win it.”

Conte also expressed his disbelief that Francesco Totti has not made the 23-man shortlist, considering his inspirational performances for Roma so far this season.

“It is incredible that there is no Totti on the list,” he continued.

“Fifa must simply have forgotten him.”



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