Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio said he is honoured to be short-listed for the Ballon d’Or.
The 26-year-old Marchisio, through performances for both club and national side Italy, has cemented his place as one of the best midfielders in Europe this year and is set to be nominated for the prestigious award.
Although the Juve midfielder may not go on to win the accolade it is seeing his name alongside other elite footballers like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta that has filled him with joy.
“It’s a great satisfaction to be on such a list as it means I’m doing well. It motivates me to improve for the future,” Marchisio told Tuttosport.
Marchisio is not the only Italian set to be shortlisted, as Juventus’ Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon, Roma’s Danielle De Rossi, Udinese’s Antonio Di Natale and Manchester City’s Mario Ballotelli have also earned nods, according to Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport, and Marchisio said it shows Italian football is fighting back.
“Too often our country is mistreated. But if you look, only Spain has more people than us on the list,” Marchisio said
Half of the Italian players nominated come from midfield, and Marchisio praised club team-mate Andrea Pirlo especially.
“Attackers often make the difference, it is fair to honour them, but I should mention Pirlo, who has always been decisive this year,” Marchisio said.