Giorgio Chiellini says Juventus and Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon “makes the difficult things look easy”.
The goalkeeper is likely in his final season as a player, as he has repeatedly spoken about retiring after the 2018 World Cup.
“I’ve been through highs and lows with Gigi for 12 years,” Chiellini told FIFA’s official website.
“Obviously, the happy times and the tense moments we’ve shared before big games are the things that will stay with me the most.
“I played against him before I played with him, and I was lucky enough to score past him too.
“Gigi is a leader during the big moments in any season, on the pitch and off it. Everyone, whether they’re a team-mate or an opponent, says he makes the difficult things look easy.
“Gigi is an extrovert. He’s always smiling and there are no airs and graces about him. He’s always a role model for his team-mates, both young and old alike.”
Buffon has been nominated for FIFA’s Goalkeeper of the Year award, and Chiellini backs his teammate to win it.
“I think he deserves it because he had an amazing season and because the saves he made took us to the brink of winning every trophy we were in contention for.”