Former winner Fabio Cannavaro maintains Andres Iniesta should be awarded the Ballon d'Or. “It has to be a Spaniard.”
The retired Italy captain was named both European and World Player of the Year in 2006 after leading his side to the World Cup.
For the first time this year, the two trophies have been combined into a single Ballon d'Or.
“Even if there are 23 players in the running, the winner has to be a Spaniard,” insisted Cannavaro.
“It would be logical, as they won the World Cup, which is the decisive tournament for this award.
“I would give it to Iniesta, as he impressed at club level with Barcelona and also scored the goal that gave Spain the World Cup in the Final.”
Inter's Wesley Sneijder is among the prime candidates, having lifted the Treble for the Nerazzurri and taken Holland to the World Cup Final.
However, there are no Italians in the 23-man short-list.
“I understand that perfectly, seeing as we had such a bad World Cup. Having said that, an Italian club won the three most important trophies at that level.
“It's true Sneijder is in there, but an Italian Inter player could've been included.”