Neuer sets sights on Euro 2016 after 'incredible' World Cup triumph

Described by Karim Benzema as “the best goalkeeper in the world”, the Ballon d’Or nominee is determined to lift the trophy in France in two years’ time

Manuel Neuer says he is already targeting a Germany triumph at Euro 2016 following their World Cup win this summer.

The Bayern Munich goalkeeper helped his side to glory in Brazil and was named as one of the final three Ballon d’Or nominees for his superb performances in 2014, alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Neuer was described by Karim Benzema as “the best goalkeeper in the world” following his exploits this summer, but the 28-year-old is already looking to do even better in the coming years.

“It’s difficult for a goalkeeper to be amongst the three Ballon d’Or nominees. After a game, you don’t look at a keeper’s performance. Players like Messi and Ronaldo have a habit on being on the podium. So I’m surprised and happy,” he told Telefoot.

“The World Cup was fantastic. Those moments are incredible for a footballer. We work every moment for such a result.

“Against Algeria [in the last 16], there were many one-on-one situations. That was make or break. But I think it was the best way to play.

“At Bayern we have 70 per cent ball possession. With me, we don’t play with 10 but with 11 and we want to take profit from this advantage.

“As for myself, I want success with Bayern and to win Euro 2016.”

Neuer also admitted he was sad to think France international and Bayern team-mate Franck Ribery will not take part in the tournament after his international retirement.

“Ribery is very funny but he is a great footballer,” he added. “It’s a shame he won’t play a great tournament in his country. But it’s his decision and we have to accept it. ”

Ribery one of Bayern's best ever foreigners – Guardiola

The Frenchman scored the only goal of the game as the reigning Bundesliga champions maintained their unbeaten start and the coach has praised him as a great player for the club

Pep Guardiola described Franck Ribery as one of the greatest imports ever to represent Bayern Munich following his 100th goal for the club.

The France winger scored the game’s only goal six minutes into the second half to break Bayer Leverkusen’s resistance and restore the champions’ seven-point cushion at the summit of the Bundesliga.

As well as reaching a century of goals, Ribery also became the Frenchman with the most German top-flight appearances to his name.

And Guardiola heaped praise on the 31-year-old, who, along with fellow wideman Arjen Robben, also had to show his defensive resolve in a first half where Leverkusen looked threatening.

“He is one of the best foreign players to ever play for this club,” the Spaniard said.

“Ribery and Robben are primarily attackers but did their defensive duties well.

“The supporters might have expected us to score two, three or four goals, but I knew that it would difficult.”

The victory was Bayern’s 10th in a row at home in the league and Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt added: “Congratulations to Pep and his team. They deserved to win.”

Ribery: Win more important than 100th goal

The Frenchman reached a century of goals in Bayern’s win over Leverkusen on Saturday but insists the team’s success comes before personal milestones

Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery says that his side’s 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen is more important than his 100th goal for the club which sealed it.

The Frenchman struck just after half-time at the Allianz Arena to give his side the three points against Roger Schmidt’s men, who have been flying high in the Bundesliga this term.

Ribery is delighted to have overcome strong opposition but insists that the team’s success is more important than personal milestones.

“It was a very important win in a tough game,” he told the club’s official website.

“Leverkusen are a good team. It’s too bad that we didn’t get a second goal. My 100th goal is good for me personally but above all, the team is very important.

“We still have four games ahead of us in 2014 and we want to win them all.”

Arjen Robben, meanwhile, commented that the game in Bavaria was not as entertaining as many were expecting it to be.

“It was perhaps less spectacular than expected,” the Dutchman added.

“There were two teams who play very attacking football but both of us paid attention because they knew that we have a lot of quality and lots of pace.”

Bayern Munich 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen: Ribery gives Guardiola's side a narrow win

The Frenchman’s second half strike was enough to ensure the home side’s unbeaten start to the campaign keeps going

Franck Ribery’s 100th Bayern Munich goal earned the Bundesliga champions a 1-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

The winger, who also became the Frenchman with the most German top-flight appearances, broke the deadlock early in the second half as Bayern maintained their perfect home league record this season.

Leverkusen were left to rue their failure to capitalise on a promising first-half showing, when they blunted the hosts’ prolific attack and wasted two excellent early openings.

Ribery’s strike changed the game entirely as Bayern grew in stature after the break, threatening to double their advantage on several occasions.

But one goal proved enough for Pep Guardiola’s side to restore their seven-point lead at the summit.

The visitors were denied a surprise lead inside the opening three minutes when a defensive mix-up allowed Karim Bellarabi through to clip a shot over Manuel Neuer, but Juan Bernat did brilliantly to slide in and divert the ball away just before it crossed the line.

Roger Schmidt’s side spurned another presentable opportunity in the seventh minute as Son Heung-min’s delivery flashed across the face of goal, narrowly eluding the reach of Stefan Kiessling.

Despite dominating possession, Bayern offered little threat in the final third, with Robert Lewandowski restricted to a peripheral role by a well-marshalled Leverkusen defence.

Indeed, Schmidt’s biggest concern in the first half was the sight of Kiessling going down injured following an innocuous challenge with Rafinha, although the Leverkusen stalwart did return after treatment.

The only other notable moment for Bayern before the interval was Arjen Robben’s disallowed goal, the Dutchman half-volleying into the net after the whistle had gone for a foul on goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

And yet it took just six minutes of the second half for the champions to break the deadlock as Ribery volleyed home a left-footed strike from inside the box to ease the air of frustration around the Allianz Arena.

That foreshadowed a spell of concerted Bayern pressure, with Robben’s attempted cross hitting the post after clipping Leno’s right leg, while Lewandowski somehow found the side-netting after his own cross had been diverted back to him in front of an unguarded net.

Leverkusen showed commendable resolve to stay in the contest and managed to mount a few late attacks of their own, though Hakan Calhanoglu’s wasteful free-kick summed up their lack of precision in the final third.

Bayern ultimately saw out the remainder of the game with relative comfort to seal a 10th consecutive home Bundesliga win, with tempers briefly flaring in the closing stages following Bellarabi’s lunging challenge on substitute Sebastian Rode.

Ronaldo will win Ballon d’Or – Figo

The former Portugal winger has tipped his compatriot to retain his title as the world’s best player, but Fabio Cannavaro believes Manuel Neuer should land the gong

Luis Figo believes Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will pip Barcelona ace Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich ‘sweeper-keeper’ Manuel Neuer to the 2014 Fifa Ballon d’Or.

Ronaldo has hit a staggering 55 goals in 55 games this year, inspiring his side to Copa del Rey and Champions League titles.

And 2001 Ballon d’Or winner Figo says there can only be one outcome when the award is presented on January 12.

“Ball’on D’or? It’s going to be Ronaldo,” Figo told reporters at a celebrity match in Thailand.

Meanwhile, former Italy international and winner of the prize in 2006, Fabio Cannavaro, believes Neuer will become the first goalkeeper to claim the prize in half a century, praising the 28-year-old’s ability to rush from his line.

“For Ball’on D’or, I believe Neuer is the favourite,” said the former Italy international.

“He performed great in World Cup, and not only does his job well but also defines new rules and new expectations in the position of goalkeeper.