Conte: I'd always give the Ballon d'Or to Pirlo

The Bianconeri boss refuses to pick between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for this year's award, saying only that his veteran playmaker would be a worthy winner
Juventus coach Antonio Conte says that he would vote for star midfielder Andrea Pirlo to win the Ballon d'Or every year, given the chance.

The prestigious individual honour has been dominated by Lionel Messi for the past four years but the in-form Cristiano Ronaldo is now thought to be the favourite for the 2013 award.

However, Conte believes that Pirlo, who has never lifted the trophy, would be an even more worthy victor.

"It is difficult to choose between Messi and Ronaldo but I would always give the Ballon d'Or to Pirlo," the former Siena boss told Verissimo.

"He is our player and may God keep him safe."

Juventus resume action following the international break with a trip to Livorno on Sunday.