Giorgio Chiellini reckons Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon should win the Ballon d'Or based on his current form, not his reputation.
The 39-year-old is a game away from winning his first Champions League title should Juve beat Real Madrid on Saturday in Cardiff.
His performances along the way have remained at his usually high level, with the Bianconeri posting one of the best defensive records in Europe this season. And teammate Chiellini believes the longtime Italy No. 1 should be rewarded for his play, not the past.
"I don't agree with people claiming Buffon should win the Ballon d'Or for what he's achieved -- he deserves it for the level he's showing now," Chiellini said on Monday.
"I've been fortunate to play in front of him for almost the entirety of my career and I can't even remember what it's like not to have him behind me making the hardest saves look easy."
Buffon, Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli have combined to form one of the world's top rearguards despite all being in their 30s, and Chiellini hopes their time together will continue into the future.
"I don't foresee wholesale changes coming, at least in the short term," he added.
"Obviously, over the years, the odd player will come and go, but change is part and parcel of football."