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Mourinho key in tighter title race?

Chelsea
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Platini: Pirlo is a Ballon d'Or contender

Michel Platini believes Juventus and Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo is a contender for the Ballon d'Or.

• Messi reveals Ballon d'Or plans

Pirlo, 33, was central to Juve last season as they won Serie A without losing a game and also played a starring role for Italy as they reached the Euro 2012 final.

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta are thought to be the frontrunners for the award but UEFA president Platini, a three-time winner of the award during his playing days with Juve, feels Pirlo has a chance.

He told Radio Due: "Pirlo is playing very well and I think he can win the Ballon d'Or, but there are also many other strong candidates for that award."

Platini also reiterated his opposition to the use of technology to assist match officials.

"If we introduced that then we would have to decide every single offside, every single free kick, and every corner using technology, because the referee can get it wrong at any moment," he said.

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