Italy coach Cesare Prandelli is delighted seeing three Italians among the Ballon d'Or nominees.

Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Mario Balotelli (Manchester City) and Andrea Pirlo (Juventus) have been nominated in a 23-man list for the governing body's annual award, and the 55-year-old Coach has congratulated his squad members for recognition of their impressive 12 months.

"It is great news for the whole of Italian football," he told reporters. "It is recognition that gives us great optimism for the future.

"It is brilliant to have three candidates for the Ballon d'Or."