Brazilian football legend Pele thinks Spanish stopper Iker Casillas should win the FIFA Ballon d’Or this year.
The 32-year-old has had a season to remember for club and country, captaining Real Madrid to the La Liga title before lifting the European Championship trophy for La Roja on Sunday night.
Whilst the Barcelona influence has been lauded as the main reason behind the success of Vicente del Bosque’s side, Casillas has consistently gone about his business without taking the plaudits he deserves.
With three consecutive major championship victories in the locker at international level, 71-year-old Pele thinks it’s about time the unsung hero was rewarded for his efforts.
"Usually it's attacking players (who win the Ballon d'Or), but for me it may be unfair to make such an assessment given that I have not seen all the games," he told Spanish publication AS.
"Still, there is no doubt about the performances of Casillas in big tournaments. This would be a good opportunity - the ideal time - to give him the Ballon d'Or. He has contributed as much as the forwards in their victories. You can have the best No.10 but it won't work if there isn't a great goalkeeper behind him.
"I have been very important (for Brazil), I will not deny that, because I was a forward. But look at (Amadeo) Carrizo, (Lev) Yashin and (Gordon) Banks. People do not talk about the goalkeepers."
Casillas conceded just one goal at Euro 2012, in their opening game against Italy. However, a clean sheet against the Azzurri in the final made up for that.
The man for the big occasion, Madrid’s shot-stopper has made 137 appearances for his country, enjoying 100 wins during an era of great success. He has also not conceded in a knockout game for his country since 2006.
All the stats suggest that Casillas, and not Messi or Ronaldo, should win this year’s FIFA Ballon d’Or.
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