With Messi just awarded the Ballon d'Or, I look around for any Italian players of his caliber, and sadly there are few who come close to his brilliance. While it will take time to have two Italians out of the top three nominees for the award (like Spain did with Xavi and Iniesta), we could see an Italian win it within the next five or 10 years.
The following five Italians are all young, talented and determined. They will all go on to accomplish great things at club level, and maybe together they will win something at international level. There were no Italians on this year's 23-man shortlist, but maybe one day we will see one of these five win the historic award.