Breitner warns Ancelotti: There is no time to acclimatise at Real Madrid

The former defender feels the Italian will need to bring success to the Spanish capital quickly and claims Franck Ribery is the “logical” choice for the Ballon d’Or

Former Real Madrid defender Paul Breitner has warned Carlo Ancelotti that he will not be given time to acclimatise to the club if he fails to win trophies this season.

Ancelotti replaced Jose Mourinho at the Santiago Bernabeu helm in the summer but has only steered his side into third place in La Liga at the halfway point in the season, with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona five points further ahead.

Breitner believes Ancelotti’s trophy record with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan bodes well for los Blancos but suggested the Italian must deliver quickly if he is to enjoy a lengthy spell in the Spanish capital.

“He is a great coach who has won major titles,” said the former Germany international to AS. “He will do very well, but he needs a bit of time to adapt his ideas into the great squad he has. But then, in Madrid, there is no time to acclimatise.”

The 62-year-old went on to suggest the club paid too much for €100 million man Gareth Bale in the summer, although he feels the Welshman brings some important pace to the attack.

“The price was debatable, but he is a player who can bring a lot of speed to the Madrid game,” he said.

Real star Cristiano Ronaldo has established himself as a favourite to lift the 2013 Ballon d’Or prize after an exceptional run of form in the past year, but Breitner believes Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery is the “logical” choice ahead of the Portugal attacker and current holder Lionel Messi.

“I think Ribery had a really sensational year. He won it all with his team, scoring vital goals and being a leader in all the important clashes,” said Breitner. “Leo won the league with spectacular numbers with Barca, while Cristiano won nothing. He ran a lot, he fought like few others, but didn’t lift a single trophy. It’s logical for Ribery to be chosen.”

Finally, Breitner – who now operates as an advisor to the Bayern board – feels the Bavarians did spectacularly well to secure Pep Guardiola as head coach at the end of last season.

“We signed the best coach in the world. He’s proven that since the first day,” he added. “He is a man of character, one who the crowd loves dearly.

“Without a doubt he has improved the team he had in Barcelona, where he played perfect football – pressing high, quick movement, a strong rearguard and a safe goalkeeper. Modern football is better for Guardiola and Barca.”

Mascherano: Guardiola is more than special

The Argentine claims the current Bayern Munich boss is “on another level” to any other coach he has worked with after he was transformed into a centre-back under the Spaniard

Barcelona star Javier Mascherano has paid tribute to the impact of former boss Pep Guardiola, describing him as “more than special.”

Mascherano joined Barca from Liverpool in the summer of 2010 and went on to clinch the Liga title and the Champions League in his first season at the club under the guidance of the Spanish coach.

The Argentina international has developed into an effective centre-back at Camp Nou after initially being converted to the role by Guardiola, and he feels indebted to the current Bayern Munich head coach for the impact on his career.

“I’ve rarely seen a group managed in the same way he pursued,” he said in an article for canchallena.com.

“He reinvented me. I discovered a role I never thought I could play. As a coach, he is more than special, he is distinct, unforgettable. I’m conscious that, were it not for Guardiola, I would never have managed to play for Barca.

“I’ve had some very prestigious coaches. But Pep is on another level. He spreads his way of living football to you.”

Sammer: I'm not getting calmer

The 46-year-old has rejected suggestions he has mellowed in recent times but admits he now prefers to keep club matters private

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has hit back at claims suggesting his approach has become overly cautious since the appointment of new coach Pep Guardiola.

The 46-year-old had an infamous touchline bust-up with Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp last season but has kept a low profile so far this term, though he insists his character remains very much intact.

“I’ve become externally quiet, but I’ve certainly not become calmer,” Sammer told Bild Sport.

“When I see danger, I talk to people internally. Perhaps that’s why people think I’ve become calmer.”

The former Germany international also took the time to confirm his relationship with Guardiola is a healthy one, despite admitting both parties needed time to become accustomed to the new regime.

He explained: “Of course he [Guardiola] had to get used to me.

“With Andoni Zuibizarreta and Txiki Begiristain [directors at Barcelona during Guardiola’s time there] Pep constantly had someone by his side. But the trust between us has grown quickly.”

Bayern have started the Guardiola-Sammer era by racing to the Bundesliga summit, remaining undefeated after 16 games, and have a seven-point lead at the top despite playing one game less than their nearest rivals.

They have also secured their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League after topping their group, where they will face Arsenal in the last-16.

Mandzukic not interested in Juventus, says agent

The Croatian attacker has recently been linked with a move to the Bianconeri, but his representative has stressed a transfer is not an option

Mario Mandzukic’s agent has insisted that the Bayern Munich striker is not interested in a move to Juventus this month.

A number of recent reports suggested that the Serie A champions are considering making a move for the Croatia international, but Ivan Cvjetkovic has made it clear that a transfer is not an option for his client at the moment.

“Juventus? Mandzukic is fully focused on Bayern Munich. He has a contract for two more years after this season and he’s feeling very good in Munich,” the striker’s agent told Tuttosport.

“Pep Guardiola really values Mario a lot and has shown just that in the first half of the season.

“Mandzukic wants to stay at Bayern and defend the Champions League title.”

The 27-year-old has been an integral part of Bayern’s first team this season, scoring 10 goals in 16 Bundesliga appearances as of the winter break.

Lewandowski not a guaranteed starter at Bayern, warns Elber

The Brazilian believes that the Dortmund attacker could face a tough task to secure regular first-team action at the Allianz Arena side

Former Bayern Munich striker Giovane Elber has warned Robert Lewandowski that he is not guaranteed a starting berth if he opts to leave Borussia Dortmund for the reigning Bundesliga champions.

The Poland international is widely expected to depart BVB for Bayern on a free transfer once his current deal expires at the end of the season, yet Elber has stressed that the 25-year-old could face a tough task to break into the starting XI at the Bavarians.

“A good player always fits in at Bayern, but the question remains how he will play. Bayern already have Mario Mandzukic, who also scores regularly. It remains to be seen where Lewandowski will fit in,” Elber told TZ.

“It’s always a risk for a striker to join Bayern. It’s quite difficult when Pep Guardiola plays without a traditional No.9.

“Then again, Mandzukic also had a difficult start and then started scoring again for Bayern and got his best form back.

“The same thing can happen with Lewandowski.”

The Pole has netted 11 goals in 17 Bundesliga appearances so far this term.