Pele backs Casillas for Ballon d’Or

Brazilian legend Pele says Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas would be a worthy Ballon d’Or winner after his Euro 2012 performances.

The 32-year-old produced a series of impressive displays and conceded just one goal in Poland and Ukraine as Spain won the trophy, and Pele feels goalkeepers have not been given the recognition they deserve in recent times.

“As a rule it is attacking players who win the Ballon d’Or and for me it may be unfair to make such an assessment given that I have not seen all the games," he told AS.

“Still, there is no doubt about Casillas’ performances in big tournaments. This would be a good opportunity, the ideal time, to award him the Ballon d'Or as he has contributed as much as the forwards to Spain’s victories.

“You can have the best No10 but it won't work if there isn't a great goalkeeper behind him.”

Pele said he was also sad to see Brazil drop to 11th place in the FIFA World Rankings, their worst position since its inception in 1993, but the 71-year-old urged people to look beyond the statistics and take note of the exciting crop of talent emerging.

“It's a shame, but we have to understand that rankings are based on those who beat others,” he said.

“If you talk about individuals then there are Brazilians who are among the best players in the world.”

Tags Ballon d'Or Casillas Euro 2012 Spain