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Cannavaro the Favorite for the Ballon d'Or

According to Football Italia, reports in France pip Real Madrid defender Fabio Cannavaro to win this year's Ballon d'Or over his Italy teammate Gianluigi Buffon. The award, called the Golden Ball in English, is given out annually by France Football magazine, and is voted on by members of the European sporting press. To qualify, a player must play in a European league, though he can be of any nationality. Brazilian Ronaldinho is last year's winner. The French reports reveal that while Buffon was earlier thought to be the frontrunner for Europe's top individual prize, it now seems that Cannavaro is the favorite. "I would give two Golden Balls, one for me and one for Buffon. Is that possible?" asked Italy captain Cannavaro, who is in Bergamo with the Azzurri squad ahead of tonight's friendly with Turkey. If he doesn't win it, Cannavaro says he hopes an Italian takes home the prize. Italy, after all, won the World Cup, and Juventus, the team that both Buffon and Cannavaro played for last season, ran away with the Scudetto at a canter, before being stripped of the title due to the Calciopoli scandal. The winner will be announced on Nov. 27 in Paris. Added Cannavaro: "I'm already satisfied with what happened this past summer, but the Golden Ball would be an additional sign of respect towards me." The last Italian to win the award was Roberto Baggio in 1993.

Read the whole story at Football Italia »

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