Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has lauded Italy and Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo, and added that the playmaker could pip some of his side's stars to the Ballon d'Or this January.
The Azzurri fell to a 4-0 loss to Spain in the European Cup final this summer, but the 33-year-old remains widely-regarded as one of the best in his position after some stellar performances at the tournament.
Del Bosque has now voiced his admiration of the former AC Milan man, but added that he hopes one of his own compatriots picks up the award - on which he places 'little' value.
"Pirlo, could win [the Ballon d'Or]. He is among the candidates," the 61-year old told reporters.
"He is a complete player, able to build the game and finish it.
"Even though I think very little about this award, I hope it goes to a Spaniard. [Andres] Iniesta? He's not the only one.
"The competition is strong, with [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Lionel] Messi and [Radamel] Falcao..."
Pirlo will be able to further stake his claim for the award when Juventus take on fellow table-toppers Napoli on Saturday.