Juventus and Italy playmaker Andrea Pirlo would be a worthy winner of the Golden Ball, says Demetrio Albertini.
The midfielder is on the 23-man shortlist  for the honour, but he isn’t expected to even finish on the Ballon d’Or podium.
“The likes of Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini and Francesco Totti would have deserved the Golden Ball as well,” the Italian Football Federation official told Sky Sport Italia.
“Andrea is an extraordinary talent of Italian football. I have seen him grow up since the start of his career,” continued the former Milan man.
“He knows of the affection that I hold for him – one I had even before he became an established player.”
Pirlo is still a key man for club and country. He aided Juventus to a 3-0 win over Napoli at the weekend with a trademark free-kick.