Marchisio: Ballon d’Or nomination a great honor

The Italian midfielder, among five short-listed Italians for the award, starred at Euro 2012 and has been impressive for Juventus during its long unbeaten run in Serie A.

Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio said he is honored to be nominated for the Balon d'Or alongside some of the biggest names in world soccer.

The 26-year-old Marchisio, through performances for both club and country, 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 Bianconeri midfielder may not go on to win the accolade it is seeing his name alongside other elite footballer’s 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 the nods, according to Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport, and Marchisio says it shows Italian soccer 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 the Azzurri nominations come from the midfield positions, and Marchisio had words of affection for his Bianconeri teammate Andrea Pirlo especially.

"Attackers often make the difference, it is fair to honor them, but I should mention Pirlo, who has always been decisive this year," Marchisio said.

Follow GOAL.COM on