Marchisio: Ballon d’Or nomination a great honour

The Italian midfielder shone at Euro 2012 and has been impressive for Antonio Conte's men during their long unbeaten run while five other national team-mates are also shortlisted

Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio has admitted he is honoured to be nominated for the Balon d'Or alongside some of the biggest names in world football.

The 26-year-old, 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.

And 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 Iniesta that has filled him with joy.

He said: “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," he told Tuttosport.

Marchisio is not the only Italian set to be shortlisted, Juventus' Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon, Roma's Danielle De Rossi, Udinese's Antonio Di Natale and Manchester City's Mario Ballotelli also appear on the panel and Marchisio says it shows Italian football is fighting back.

He continued: "Too often our country is mistreated. But if you look, only Spain has more people than us on the list."

Half the Azzurri nominations come from the midfield positions and Marchisio had words of affection for his Bianconeri team-mate Andrea Pirlo especially.

He added: "Attackers often make the difference, it is fair to honour them, but I should mention Pirlo, who has always been decisive this year."