Rumenigge: Bayern wouldn't swap Ribery for Ronaldo

The Portugal international may have beaten the winger to the 2013 Ballon d’Or but the West Germany legend believes the Frenchman to be the superior player

Bayern Munich president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has insisted that the club would not swap Franck Ribery for Cristiano Ronaldo.

The France international finished third to the Real Madrid superstar in the battle for the 2013 Ballon d’Or, with Lionel Messi coming in second.

Rummenigge says he is unsurprised that Ronaldo came out on top but insists that Ribery remains the more valuable player.

“Once you saw the size of the entourage that had flown in from Madrid, you did need not to be a prophet to know what was going to happen,” the former West Germany international told Bild.

“But Bayern Munich would not swap Franck for Ronaldo.”

Rummenigge also reiterated that the Bavarians will do their utmost to hold onto Mario Mandzukic and Arjen Robben.

The Croatia international is being linked with the likes of Arsenal following confirmation that fellow forward Robert Lewandowski will be joining from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, while Robben has recently admitted that he is hoping to commit himself to the club beyond 2015.

“[Mario] has exceeded expectations and we will keep him in Munich. We are even willing to extend his contract,” Rummenigge declared.

“I’ve also been keeping in touch with [Arjen] and his father and soon will we all meet to discuss the specifics [of a new deal].

“We are very happy with and he feels happy here. I have a good feeling about it all.”

'Ibrahimovic is the world's best' – Raiola

The controversial super agent insists the Paris Saint-Germain striker deserved to win the Ballon d’Or and criticised the award for being a popularity contest

Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic should have won Monday’s Ballon d’Or instead of Cristiano Ronaldo, according to agent Mino Raiola.

The Swede was not even in the three-man final shortlist that featured Ronaldo, who went on to win the award for a second time, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery.

However, the controversial representative of Ibrahimovic is adamant that his client deserved the individual accolade and derided the way voting takes place for the award.

“If I were to choose, the Ballon d’Or should be won by Zlatan,” Raiola told France Football.

“It is all politics. Ibrahimovic is the best player in the world. For me, Mino Raiola, Zlatan is the Ballon d’Or winner. Never in my life have I seen a player like him.

“I see no other player who has done as much as him at several clubs (Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG). I have never seen anything like it.

“The only Ballon d’Or I would like to see is a Ballon d’Or chosen by fans, not by others. 

“A Ballon d’Or which is not only about who is the greatest, but also the most important for children, for the people… the professionals don’t tell me anything.”

Ibrahimovic did pick up the Ferenc Puskas award at the ceremony in Zurich for his stunning 40-yard overhead kick against England in a friendly for Sweden.

Bayern: We'll keep Mandzukic

Despite capturing Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, the club’s chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insists they want to keep the Croatian attacker too

Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has claimed the club want to extend Mario Mandzukic’s contract at the Allianz Arena.

With Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski set to join the German champions at the end of the season, reports had linked the Croatia international with a move away from Bayern.

Arsenal had been cited as one of Mandzukic’s potential destinations, but Rummenigge has insisted negotiations over an extension to his deal that expires in 2016 will take place.

“We will keep Mandzukic and will try to extend his contract,” he told Bild.

“I don’t have the feeling that he’d be averse to that.”

Team-mate Arjen Robben will see his contract expire next year, although Rummenigge is also confident in extending the Netherlands international’s stay in Bavaria.

“I’m always in contact with him and his father and soon we will meet in order to be more specific,” he continued.

“We are very happy, and he feels comfortable. I have a good feeling.”

Ribery: Ballon d'Or was not an important goal

The France winger remained upbeat after missing out on the individual trophy and is aiming for more silverware in 2014

Franck Ribery has stressed that winning the Fifa Ballon d’Or was not an important objective for him as he has set his sights on winning silverware with Bayern Munich and France.

The 30-year-old had to settle for third spot in the prestigious individual award behind winner Cristiano Ronaldo and runner-up Lionel Messi, but Ribery was quick to stress that missing out on the trophy was not too much of a disappointment for him.

“I am not a selfish player and the Fifa Ballon d’Or was not an objective of mine,” Ribery was quoted as saying by Bild.

“I would rather win it all again with Bayern Munich and win the world title. That is what really matters.

“Of course, I would have liked to win the award, but what else could I have done than winning all trophies with Bayern?

“I’m alright with it. Winning the Ballon d’Or was not the most important thing for me. I’m glad it’s all behind us. I now want to win a lot of trophies with Bayern once more.”

The Bavarians currently sit atop of the Bundesliga table, holding a seven-point lead over Bayer Leverkusen with a game in hand. They meet Arsenal in the Champions League round of 16.

Ballon d'Or voting: Coaches swing it for Ronaldo

Portugal’s Paulo Bento not only backed his star forward for the prize but excluded Franck Ribery and Lionel Messi from his top three

The voting of the world’s leading international coaches was crucial in swinging the closest-ever Ballon d’Or race in favour of Cristiano Ronaldo.

For years to come questions will be raised over Fifa’s decision to extend the voting deadline to allow his performances against Sweden in the World Cup play-off last November to be taken into account.

For these 172 coaches, whose Ballon d’Or votes were counted alongside their captains and journalists, international football really matters so they would have appreciated the significance of Ronaldo’s hat-trick in the second leg.

Ultimately, more coaches opted for the Real Madrid forward as their first choice than either of his two main rivals at the end of a highly political selection process. In total, 53 voted for Ronaldo opposed to 39 each for Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery.

Brazil’s Luiz Felipe Scolari was admirably neutral overlooking Brazilians in favour of Ronaldo, Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic while England’s Roy Hodgson chose Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic and Robin van Persie.

But others were far less reticent in backing players from their own countries. France’s Didier Deschamps made Ribery his No1 selection ahead of Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic and Argentina’s Alejandro Sabella picked Messi, Ribery and Ronaldo in that order. But was Paulo Bento of Portugal playing it tactical by choosing Radamel Falcao and Arjen Robben behind Ronaldo? 

Belgium’s Marc Wilmots left out all three leading contenders opting for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robert Lewandowski and Eden Hazard.

There were also some highly patriotic No1 picks including Gareth Bale for Wales’ Chris Coleman, Lewandowski for Poland’s Adam Nawalka and Andrea Pirlo for Italy’s Cesare Prandelli.