Heynckes: Ribery was worthy of Ballon d'Or win

The former Bayern Munich coach was disappointed to see his former charge miss out as Cristiano Ronaldo was crowned the world’s best footballer for 2013

Franck Ribery should have won the Fifa Ballon d’Or for 2013, according to his former Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes.

Heynckes, who retired in the summer after leading die Roten to an unprecedented treble, was awarded the Coach of the Year award at Monday’s event in Zurich.

Yet he was quick to pay tribute to Ribery, who lost out to Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for the night’s main award.

“It is quite difficult to talk about Ribery,” the 68-year-old told reporters after the ceremony. “He won the treble with Bayern Munich and he was a key player. He also deserved the prize.

“There were other players in our Bayern side of last season that deserved to be nominated too. Players such as Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger or Thomas Muller could also have been here, but it is only a three-man shortlist so it is impossible to include all of them.”

The former West Germany international was also asked for his opinion on his countrymen’s hopes of lifting this summer’s World Cup, and he believes they are among a small group of potential victors in Brazil.

“Germany have a very young team ahead of the World Cup, but I think Germany, Argentina, Brazil and Spain are the favourites to win the title. But bearing history in mind, it is going to be tough for a European national team to succeed in South America.”

The former Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen boss was a popular winner of the Coach of the Year award, and he admitted afterwards that he was pleased to end his career on such a high.

“It is a unique experience,” he exclaimed. “Now I am going to enjoy my spare time with my family and my dog!”

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