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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 08:15, October 26, 2005
Juventus boss says Del Piero should be candidate for Ballon d'or
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Juventus General Manager Luciano Moggi said on Tuesday that Juve captain Alessandro Del Piero should have been one of the candidates for European Footballer of the Year.

"The absence of Del Piero is a little startling," Moggi said, adding that defender Gianluca Zambrotta also merited inclusion in the 50-strong list of candidates for the Ballon d'Or.

In a season that has seen it string together eight wins out of as many games, Italian champions Juventus added another feather to its cap when it contributed nine names to the list, a record for one club.

In an attempt to explain the absence of Del Piero and Zambrotta, Moggi said: "I suppose they reckoned eleven from the same team would have been too much."

In any case, he said the nine Juventini - three Italians and six foreigners - "are a great satisfaction, a reward for our work."

"It means we always get the best players," Moggi said.

Pundits have said that Zambrotta has been in superb form for club and country and could have a legitimate grievance for not being listed.

But Del Piero has spent the year in and out of the team and it was no surprise when he was omitted.

Sixteen Serie A players were nominated Monday for european soccer's top honor, awarded each year by the France Football magazine.

The only other league with 16 nominations was England's Premier League, while Spain's Liga had 12, France's Liguethree and Germany's Bundesliga just two.

As well as the Juventus nine, Serie A contributed five names from AC Milan and two from Inter Milan.

The last Italian to be crowned European Footballer of the Year was Roberto Baggio, who claimed the prize in 1993.

Last year the prize went to Milan's Andriy Shevchenko, who has again been nominated this year.

In 2003 Pavel Nedved of Juventus won it. He, too, has received another nomination.

Like Del Piero, Roma captain Francesco Totti was not nominated this year.

This year's winner will be announced on November 28.

Source: Xinhua

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