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Saturday 16 December 2017

Ribery: Robben or Neuer deserve Ballon d'Or gong

Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery believes either Manuel Neuer or Arjen Robben deserve to win the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or - but fears "politics" could work against them.

Bayern goalkeeper Neuer, widely regarded as the best number one in the world, helped Germany win the World Cup, while Holland forward Robben enjoyed an excellent campaign with club and country.

Both men are on the 23-strong shortlist for the award, but Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite to win for a second straight year after leading Real Madrid to Champions League success.

Ribery finished third in the voting last time and insisted afterwards he deserved to have won it ahead of Ronaldo for his success with Bayern.

ARROGANT

Asked about what he expected this time around, he said: "What can I say? For me, Manuel Neuer or Arjen Robben have to win it, there are only two views.

"Manu has won everything, is a good person, not arrogant.

"Arjen played an unbelievable last Bundesliga season and after that an excellent World Cup. But I fear that there is still a lot of politics.

"The Golden Ball for the best player? I don't believe that any more. In 2006 (Italy defender Fabio) Cannavaro won - because he was world champion, that's all."

Ribery insists he is not bothered the award for the world's best player has eluded him.

"I am not jealous, this title means nothing to me today," the Frenchman added.

Ribery also revealed he came close to leaving Bayern for Madrid in 2009, when Louis van Gaal took over as coach, saying his agent spoke with Madrid officials.

Ribery, who also said Chelsea and Manchester City were interested in him, added: "I was pulled one way and then the other, that made my head spin.

LEAVING

"I was on the verge of leaving. I then had two, three conversations with (former general manager) Uli Hoeness and (chairman) Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. And they were really cool, I will never forget that."

The forward claimed both Madrid and Chelsea had offered "crazy" transfer fees of "60, 65, 70, or even 80 million euros".

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