Tuesday October 25 2011
Di Natale thanks golden Udinese

Antonio Di Natale has thanked Udinese after he made it into the 50-man shortlist for the 2011 Golden Ball.

The striker is understood to be the only Italian to be up for the prize after scoring 57 League goals over the last two campaigns.

"It's an honour that fills me with pride," he told the club's official website. "To be mentioned alongside players such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't happen every day.

"Obviously being the only Italian in the list makes it even more satisfying," continued the 34-year-old forward.

"However, if FIFA and France Football thought of me then it is also thanks to my teammates and my club.

"Without them I would never have been able to achieve certain objectives during these last few years."

Di Natale is again heading the Capocannoniere charts and today's news has been welcomed by boss Francesco Guidolin.

"I'm happy for him," stated the tactician. "It's not easy to be top scorer in Italy for two seasons running. It's an amazing achievement and he deserves this recognition."

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has admitted on Tuesday that he may be forced to consider the player for Euro 2012 even though he hasn't used him during his reign to date.