The former striker believes an iconic goalkeeper should see his efforts recognised, rather than Real Madrid's talisman being given another top prize
Gianluigi Buffon is “much more” deserving of the Ballon d’Or than Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala is a future winner of the award, says Fabrizio Ravanelli.
Discussions regarding the destination of the 2017 prize have already begun, with Real Madrid talisman Ronaldo and eternal rival Lionel Messi of Barcelona once again among the leading contenders.
Juventus goalkeeper Buffon has, however, entered the debate on the back of his exploits at 39 years of age.
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He has helped Juve to Serie A and Coppa Italia glory, with a Champions League final clash with Madrid to come, and Ravanelli feels those efforts should be recognised, with team-mate Dybala to join him on that roll of honour at some stage.
The former Juve striker told AS: “Dybala has the potential to win the Ballon d’Or in the future.
“He’s extraordinary but Buffon is the one who deserves the award the most this season. Much more than Ronaldo.
“Gigi has had an amazing season despite his age. Cristiano is a great player but he has already won so many Ballon d’Ors.”
Ravanelli, who won the Champions League with Juve in 1996, is also tipping his former club to claim Europe’s biggest prize this season, with Massimiliano Allegri’s side stronger and more deserving of their place in a Cardiff showpiece than Madrid.
“I don’t think this is the best possible final,” he added.
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“Juve deserve to be there but Real Madrid must remember how they went through against Bayern Munich. Everybody seen it. They are a very strong team but referee’s decisions have changed the game.”
“No one can be the favourite against Real Madrid but Juve won’t fear them. They know they can create Real Madrid all sort of troubles.”
Juve will meet the La Liga champions in the Welsh capital on June 3, with Madrid seeking to become the first side to defend the title in its current format and their Italian opponents looking to conquer the continent for a third time.