Beckenbauer: Kroos sale would hurt, but playing for Madrid is priceless

The Germany legend did not attempt to hide his frustration as the midfielder appears to be drawing closer to a move to the Spanish capital

Bayern Munich honorary president Franz Beckenbauer admitted that it would hurt to see Toni Kroos depart the club – though he concedes the chance to play for Real Madrid is “priceless”.

The midfielder, currently representing Germany at the World cup, has a contract at the Allianz Arena that expires in 2015, and he has failed to agree terms on a new deal.

Madrid have long been credited with an interest in the player, with Bayern reportedly willing to sanction a €25 million sale in an effort to prevent Kroos leaving on a free transfer next summer.

And though Beckenbauer says he would be disappointed to see Kroos exit the club, he understands the appeal for the player to join the European champions.

“As honorary president of Bayern I regret his departure. If he is going we will have lost a player of absolutely world class quality,” said Beckenbauer to the official German Football Federation (DFB) website.

“But there is also a future in his career. This can be an experience abroad and going to a club like Real Madrid is priceless.”

Kroos is among the nominees for the World Cup Golden Ball prize, awarded to the best player during the tournament.

Neuer, Navas and Romero nominated for Golden Glove

The two goalkeepers set to face off in the World Cup final have joined the Costa Rica hero on the shortlist, with Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa missing out

Manuel Neuer, Keylor Navas and Sergio Romero have been nominated for the Fifa Golden Glove, awarded to the best goalkeeper at the World Cup.

Neuer has started every game for finalists Germany, keeping a clean sheet on three occasions and impressing with his ‘sweeper keeper’ performance against Algeria in the round of 16.

Levante’s Navas kept two clean sheets in the group stages as Costa Rica topped Group D ahead of Uruguay, Italy and England, before saving a penalty in the last-16 shootout win over Greece and pulling off a number of saves in the quarter-final loss to Netherlands.

Romero managed four clean sheets during Argentina’s run to the final and stopped Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneidjer from the spot in the shootout victory over Netherlands in the semi-finals.

Guillermo Ochoa misses out despite consistently impressing during Mexico’s run to the knockout stages, while Tim Howard is also overlooked despite a record-breaking 16 saves during USA’s match against Belgium.

Fifa’s Technical Study Group, comprised of selected coaches and football analysts, will determine the winner after Sunday’s World Cup final.

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Arjen Robben are among the nominees for the Golden Ball award for best player at the World Cup, while Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane and Memphis Depay are shortlisted for the Best Young Player prize.

Messi, Neymar and James among Fifa Golden Ball nominees

The Barcelona stars have been named among a shortlist dominated by Argentina and Germany, who will contest Sunday’s World Cup final at the Maracana

Lionel Messi, Neymar and James Rodriguez have been named among those shortlisted for the Fifa Golden Ball 2014.

The award is presented to the best player of the World Cup finals and is voted for by members of the media and Fifa’s Technical Study Group.

The Barcelona stars were named alongside James, the tournament’s current top scorer with six goals, as part of a 10-man shortlist that is dominated by Germany and Argentina – the two sides who will contest Sunday’s final at the Maracana.

Javier Mascherano and Angel Di Maria join Messi as the three Argentina players to make the list.

Favourites Germany have four nominations, with Matts Hummels and Toni Kroos joining captain Philipp Lahm and Thomas Muller, who has scored five goals in Brazil so far.

Fifa Golden Ball Nominees

Matts Hummels Germany
Thomas Muller Germany
Toni Kroos Germany
Philipp Lahm Germany
Lionel Messi Argentina
Javier Mascherano Argentina
Angel Di Maria Argentina
Neymar Brazil
Arjen Robben Netherlands
James Rodriguez Colombia

Muller: I’ve never lost a game to Messi yet

The Germany international is yet to be on the losing side against the Argentina star and is hell bent on extending that record this weekend

Germany forward Thomas Muller has never lost against a team including Lionel Messi, and doesn’t plan on bucking that trend when he faces Argentina in the World Cup final on Sunday.

Muller has enjoyed another stellar World Cup, with his five goals in six games matching the tally that won him the golden boot four years ago in South Africa.

And the Bayern Munich man says he and the rest of the team will do everything in their power to lift the trophy for the first time in 24 years.

“It’ll be very important to push ourselves to the limit, especially defensively. You need to be quick to keep up with [Lionel] Messi.

“We’ve played against Messi a few times. I’ve never lost a competitive game against him.

“We haven’t had a tour of Rio de Janeiro yet but for me the only reason for going back there is to win the World Cup.”

Germany thrashed hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semi-final but Muller expects Sunday’s clash at the Maracana to be a much stiffer test for Joachim Low’s side.

“I don’t know what kind of a game it will be on Sunday, but I don’t expect it to be 5-0 at half-time,” he said. “That would be nice, but it’s probably going to be tight like it was against Algeria or France.”

“We’ll give everything we’ve got to win the World Cup.”

Bernat: I am a huge Guardiola fan

The Spanish youngster is looking forward to working with the former Barca boss and feels proud to be compared to Jordi Alba

Juan Bernat has revealed the presence of Pep Guardiola was one of the main reasons behind his decision to join Bayern Munich.

The left-back completed his move from Valencia to the Bundesliga champions earlier this week and he is looking forward to working with his compatriot.

“I am a big Guardiola fan. I am very excited to have him as my coach,” Bernat said at a press conference.

“I really like Guardiola’s philosophy. His footballing ideas suit my playing style.

“I’m an enthusiastic supporter of Pep’s style and I hope I can learn a lot from him.”

The wing-back then went on to admit he feels honoured to be compared to Barcelona defender and Spain international Jordi Alba.

“I do not really like these comparisons, but we have similar characteristics. We’ve got similar qualities and I must admit the comparison makes me feel a bit proud.”

Bernat, 21, has made over 70 official appearances for Valencia in the past three seasons.