Shaqiri not at Ribery's level – Hoeness

The FCB supremo says the former Basel winger must improve, while the attacker himself remains humble

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness believes Xherdan Shaqiri still has a long way to go before he is at the same level as Franck Ribery.

The Switzerland international put in a man of the match performance in Bayern’s 6-1 DFB Pokal semi-final win over Wolfsburg earlier this week, prompting sporting director Matthias Sammer to describe him as world class.

However, Hoeness is not getting carried away following Shaqiri’s fine form and has stressed the winger still has room for improvement.

“Shaqiri put in a good performance, but he is not at Ribery’s level yet,” Hoeness was quoted as saying by Bild.

“He still has a long way to go before he’s on par with Ribery.”

The 21-year-old, meanwhile, remains humble as he realises he faces a tough task to condemn Ribery to the bench.

He said: “It was a good game from me, but I still have room for improvement. It’s not easy when a world-class player like Ribery is your biggest rival. He’s a good friend, though.”

Shaqiri has netted seven goals in 32 appearances in all competitions so far this term.

Van der Vaart: Bayern don't stand a chance against Barcelona

The creative midfielder has little faith in the freshly crowned Bundesliga champions as he feels they are simply not good enough to contain the Blaugrana

Netherlands international Rafael van der Vaart believes Bayern Munich do not stand a chance against Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

The Hamburg star, 30, was recently beaten 9-2 by the Bavarians in the Bundesliga, yet he feels the German champions do not have what it takes to deal with Lionel Messi and his team-mates.

“Bayern do not have a chance against Barcelona. When both sides meet, Bayern will only have 30 per cent possession or so. Barca always have the ball. Their system is unbelievable,” the former Madrid midfielder told Sport Bild.

“There is one player who makes the difference between Bayern and Barcelona and that’s Messi.

“The Bundesliga has reached new heights this season and is the most interesting league in my opinion. I do not think Bayern have a chance against Barca, though.”

The first leg between Bayern and Barcelona takes place at the Allianz Arena on April 23.

Madrid usurp Manchester United as richest club in the world

Barcelona have risen 99 per cent in value over the last 12 months while the Red Devils see their top position crumble as the Blancos take over in Forbes’ top 20 rankings

Real Madrid have usurped Manchester United as the richest football club on the planet for the first time since Forbes magazine began their rankings in 2004.

The Red Devils have sat at the top of the list for nine years in a row but Jose Mourinho’s men are now worth $135 million more (€103m) at $3.3 billion (€2.429bn), while Sir Alex Ferguson’s side sit second in the business magazine’s most valuable club list.

Barcelona are perched comfortably in third – $565m (€434m) behind United but $1.274m (€978m) ahead of fourth-placed Arsenal – and rose 99 per cent in value over 12 months.

Bayern Munich fill out the top five having made the Champions League final last season as well as finishing second in the Bundesliga. Their value is sure to rise further in next year’s rankings with the added interest of Pep Guardiola as coach, not to mention their triumph in this season’s Bundesliga and a potential treble of trophies.

AC Milan are the top-placed Serie A side in sixth and the highest-placed club to be valued below the €1bn mark this year. However, they are also the only club in the top 10 which have gone down in value over the last 12 months.

Chelsea’s Champions League-winning season saw maintain their place in the list and boost their value by 18%, not so contrasting to the team below them, Juventus, who saw their value rise by 17% after returning to Scudetto-lifting ways in 2012.

Manchester City rose from 13th to 9th in Forbes’ list after winning the Premier League last season and qualifying for the Champions League for the second successive campaign.

An English team not faring as well are Liverpool, who were fourth in April 2008 but find themselves 10th five years later as they continue to suffer from not competing with the European elite.

Outside of the top 10 sit Europa League quarter-finalists Tottenham in 11th, Bundesliga side Schalke in 12th, Champions League semi-finalists Borussia Dortmund in 13th, Italian giants Inter in 14th and Olympique Lyonnais in 15th.

The final five in the list are South America’s sole entrants Corinthians in 16th, Walter Mazzarri’s Napoli in 17th, German side Hamburg in 18th, Olympique de Marseille (who dropped 18% in value, the biggest drop in the top 20) in 19th and Newcastle United perched 20th.

Interestingly, despite being considered one of the richest clubs in the world, Paris Saint-Germain fail to make the top 20, while La Liga’s top-three duo are the only Spanish sides to make the list.

Hoeness urges Platini to kick teams out of Champions League

The Bayern Munich president has demanded that sides be punished if they breach new regulations

Uli Hoeness says Michel Platini must kick teams out of the Champions League within the next two years if they fail to adhere to new Financial Fair Play (FFP) measures.

Uefa regulations from next season state that teams are not allowed to spend more than they earn, with Malaga set to be banned from European competition for breaching the latest ruling.

However, the Bayern Munich president has suggested that some of the continent’s biggest sides will get away with their financial misdemeanours as a result of Platini’s close relationship with certain teams.

“If Platini is consistent then within the next two years he must kick teams out of the Champions League to make a mark, like he is doing with Malaga,” he told Servus TV.

“I will observe precisely how Platini, especially with his friends in Paris, Milan, in England with Manchester City and with another club that have a three quarter of a billion debt.”

Several clubs across Europe have enjoyed success as a result of financial injections from wealthy owners, with Chelsea lifting the Champions League last season after years of big-spending under Roman Abramovich.

More recently the likes of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have also followed a similar model with their respective investment in players.

Who is Bayern Munich's Player of the Season? nominates the top three stand-out performers for the Bavarians in 2012-13. Vote for your winner in our exclusive poll

It promises to be a historic season for Bayern Munich. Having wrapped up the Bundesliga in record time, the Bavarians also sealed progress to the DFB-Pokal final on Tuesday with victory over Wolfsburg while Barcelona lie in wait in the Champions League semi-finals as they pursue a treble.

While all of the Bavarians’ stars played their part in the success story their campaign has been so far, every team has their stars, and their big names have duly risen to the occasion after suffering so much disappointment in all three competitions last season.

The goalkeeper has been solid as ever, the new signings have slotted in seamlessly, the forwards scored when called upon and the midfielders have been a solid presence. There was no first XI – everyone played their part.

Below, in alphabetical order, are‘s three nominees for Bayern’s player of the season, based on their club performances in all competitions. Cast your vote in the poll at the bottom of the article.

Competition Games
Goals Assists Booked
Sent off
League 27 1 1 4 0
DFB-Pokal 3 0 0 1 0
Europe 10 0 0 2 0
Others 1 0 0 0 0
Total 41 1 1 7 0

The signing of Dante from Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer certainly raised a few eyebrows. It was said the Brazilian would struggle to get into the Bavarians’ first team with the likes of Holger Badstuber and Jerome Boateng ahead of him.

However, it was not long before he was an essential cog in the back line, outperforming his rivals and proving himself to be a mainstay as David Alaba and Badstuber struggled with injuries. His importance to the team was there for all to see against Fortuna Dusseldorf when he was missing.

He has played a key part in their new-found defensive solidity and and has certainly been one of their standout performers.

Competition Games
Goals Assists Booked
Sent off
League 24 12 12 0 0
DFB-Pokal 4 0 1 1 0
Europe 10 5 1 1 0
Others 1 1 0 0 0
Total 39 18 14 1 0

It may feel like Thomas Muller has been around for an age, but the Germany forward is just 23. And this season, he has arguably enjoyed the finest campaign of his career. After being largely disappointing last term, he has proved his detractors wrong with some fine showings.

Muller has been one of Bayern’s most consistent performers, scoring 18 goals in his 39 games thus far and setting up a further 14 as his permanent switch to the right wing in an attacking triumvirate with Franck Ribery and Toni Kroos has paid dividends for Jupp Heynckes’ side.

His efforts this season were rewarded with a contract extension which will keep him at the club until 2017 and the future is bright for Bayern and Muller.

Competition Games
Goals Assists Booked
Sent off
League 23 7 11 2
DFB-Pokal 2 0 2 0 1
Europe 9 1 2 1 0
Others 1 0 1 0 0
Total 35 8 16 3 1

As impressive as Muller has been on the right, Franck Ribery has been on the left. The Frenchman, who recently turned 30 has kept up his fitness for the most part and the results have been devastating.

Though his goalscoring statistics could be better for a player in his position, there can be no doubting his influence, constantly running at opposition defenders and creating chances. And when he is unavailable, his absence is sorely noticeable, such as against Bayer Leverkusen or Arsenal.

Ribery has been absolutely critical in a brilliant campaign for Bayern and looks set to be rewarded with a season of silverware.