Gigi Buffon insists Juventus teammate Andrea Pirlo is on the same level as Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

It was hoped that Pirlo would win the Ballon d'Or after a year in which he took Juve to the Scudetto and was instrumental in Italy's revival.

"I think it's impossible to say Messi isn't the best player in the world, as it'll be incredible if anyone is ever able to replicate his figures," said Buffon.

"However, a striker always gets the front page headlines. For example, Pirlo is on the same level with Messi and anyone else in terms of quality, but he is a midfielder and won't be treated the same way."