Debate rages on as to whether Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi should win the Ballon d'Or, but Juventus coach Antonio Conte feels Andrea Pirlo is a more worthy candidate.
Ronaldo is the favourite to clinch the award after his heroics in helping Portugal overcome Sweden in their World Cup 2014 qualification play-off, leading Messi and Franck Ribery.
Italian veteran Pirlo is a very long shot with some bookmakers offering around 200/1 on him to be crowned the world player of the year.
However, when asked who he would choose for the coveted prize, Conte was insistent that Pirlo is a deserving winner.
"It's difficult to choose between Messi and Ronaldo," the Bianconeri tactician said on Verissimo on Canale 5.
"I would always give the award to Pirlo. He's our player and I ask God to protect him!"
It is possible that Conte was trying to flatter Pirlo in order to increase Juve's chances of renewing his contract at the end of the season, preventing the free-kick master leaving on a free transfer.
Tottenham and Chelsea are both said to be angling for Pirlo's signature but Juventus have made it clear that they will do everything in their power to prevent him leaving.
image: © Jan S0L0