The 2012 Golden Ball should be awarded to Andrea Pirlo of Juventus, says Shakhtar Donetsk boss Mircea Lucescu.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s Champions League clash between the two sides in Turin, Lucescu hailed a midfielder who he bossed at Brescia and then Inter.
“I know Pirlo very well,” said the Romanian. “I gave him his debut when he was 15 and a half, then I worked with him again at Inter.
“His evolution has been exceptional. I’m convinced that for what he achieved last season, he deserves to win the Golden Ball.
“He should win it to crown his career. Pirlo is in great form and, for me, he is always number one.”
While full of admiration for the playmaker, Lucescu also conceded that the Old Lady are a force to be reckoned with.
“Juventus are not just Pirlo though,” he added. “Right now, they are the best side in Europe when you consider results, how many players they provide for national teams and for the way they play.
“They are a well organised side which has been constructed very well, with new signings which they needed.
“Their spine of Gigi Buffon-Leonardo Bonucci-Pirlo and Mirko Vucinic is fundamental, as that is where their play originates from.
“I’ve shown my boys the Juventus-Roma game from the weekend, telling them that is not the way you play against them.
“The Giallorossi left Juventus too much freedom to do what they wanted. But no side is perfect…”