Based on what happened at the European Championships this past summer, it probably came as no surprise that Friday’s announcement about the 30 players nominated for the Ballon d’Or had a heavy Italian presence.
And because of what Italy did a few months ago, it made a whole lot of sense.
Two of those Italians who were included on the 30-player list released just so happen to have Juventus ties as well. Leonardo Bonucci was one of the first names revealed by France Football, then joined by captain Giorgio Chiellini shortly thereafter. They added up to two-fifths of the Italian representation on the list, with Gianluigi Donnarumma, Jorginho and Nico Barella also included.
Together in the middle of our defence, together with the Azzurri and together on the Ballon D'Or shortlist!— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) October 8, 2021
Congratulations, @bonucci_leo19 & @chiellini! ⚪⚫ pic.twitter.com/KhLZQ5H4U2
As is essentially an unofficial bylaw at this point of his career, former Juventus player Cristiano Ronaldo was included. Bonucci and Chiellini also accounted for two of the five players who play club football in Serie A being nominated.
Not included in the 30-player list: Federico Chiesa, who was easily one of Italy’s best players at Euro 2020 as well as one of the most in-form players for the better part of the last year. He’ll be on this list sooner rather than later, but man would it have been another step in the confirmation of just how bright his star currently is.
For Bonucci and Chiellini, their inclusion on the Ballon d’Or nominations list most definitely is a result of what they each did for Italy over the summer. They are two of the oldest players on this list, but they were at the heart of an Italy team that won the whole damn thing at Euro 2020.