Ribery 'disappointed' with Sakho Ballon d'Or snub

The Bayern Munich star admitted his frustration that his compatriot publicly stated he would vote for Cristiano Ronaldo to win the prestigious award

Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery revealed he was “disappointed” by Mamadou Sakho’s declaration that he would back Cristiano Ronaldo to be crowned Ballon d’Or winner.

Ribery was instrumental in die Roten‘s unprecedented treble last season and recently helped France to the 2014 World Cup by impressing in a 3-2 aggregate play-off win against Ukraine.

However, Ronaldo remains one of the firm favourites after an incredible performance record during 2013, with Liverpool defender Sakho citing that as the decisive reason behind his vote. 

“I would vote for Cristiano Ronaldo,” the France international told beIN Sport on Monday. “He is a high-level player and athlete and the statistics of the Portuguese are really impressive.

“It is obvious my heart would vote for Ribery, but the numbers don’t lie.”

However, Ribery made clear he was not impressed with his international colleague’s remarks, telling L’Equipe: “Sakho disappointed me.

“He disappointed me about what he said recently. Anyway, that’s how it is in football. He gave his opinion. This is life. It’s not a serious issue.”

Ribery and Ronaldo are now considered front-runners for the prestigious individual award given Barcelona man Lionel Messi has been ruled out for the rest of the year with injury.

Fifa had extended the voting deadline till Thursday in order to allow more votes to be cast due to an initial low number of replies from the nominated coaches and players.

Muller demands more Bayern motivation

The forward admits his side struggled to gear themselves up for Saturday’s clash with Eintracht Braunschweig, while Arjen Robben claimed they were poor in the second half

Thomas Muller has conceded that Bayern Munich struggled for motivation in their narrow 2-0 win over Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday.

A brace from Arjen Robben sealed the Bavarians’ 39th unbeaten Bundesliga game in a row, though the likes of Simeon Jackson and Karim Bellarabi nearly pegged the German champions back in the latter stages of the game.

And while claiming that die Roten‘s heavy schedule was responsible for a loss of sharpness, Muller underlined that his team must get back to their best if they are to continue their push for an unprecedented second successive treble.

We did what we had to do. It wasn’t easy to motivate ourselves after playing against Dortmund and the difficult [Champions League] game in [CSKA] Moscow,” the 24-year-old told reporters. “We wanted to score a quick goal so avoid any problems. 

“The cup game against Augsburg will be tough, it’s a knockout match, so motivation won’t be a problem. We’ll need to be on our game.”

Goal hero Robben likewise admitted the side were far from their best during the second half, adding: “We showed we have to concentrate and go all out right from the off.

“We did that in the first half, we wanted to score an early goal and played really well. Any criticism of the second half is fair – we didn’t play as well.”

Pep Guardiola’s men have nevertheless opened up a four point gap at the top of the Bundesliga over second-placed Bayer Leverkusen. 

Guardiola impressed by Robben impact

The Dutchman took his tally to 10 for the season after hitting both goals in Saturday’s win over Eintracht Braunschweig and his coach was thrilled with their recent form

Pep Guardiola praised Arjen Robben’s goalscoring impact this season as Bayern Munich recorded a 2-0 victory over Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday.

The Bundesliga leaders had a taxing schedule leading into this game, having claimed away wins against title rivals Borussia Dortmund in the league and CSKA Moscow in the Champions League in the space of five days.

Robben’s first-half double sealed the triumph to extend Bayern’s unbeaten league run to 39 games.

The hosts were dominant for long spells and enjoyed 78 per cent possession, but rock-bottom Braunschweig had their chances on the counter-attack and could have scored on a couple of occasions.

Guardiola was particularly happy with Robben as the Dutchman took his goal tally to 10 in all competitions this term.

“I’m pleased,” the coach said after the match. “Robben is very important for us and creates many goals.

“It was a difficult game because we came from Dortmund and Moscow.

“This game was a whole different ball game.”

The victory maintains Bayern’s four-point lead at the top of the table from Bayer Leverkusen, with Dortmund a further three points behind.

Sabella: I picked Messi ahead of Ronaldo for Ballon d'Or

The Albiceleste boss feels that the Barcelona attack had a better 2013 than his Real Madrid rival, and is confident that the No.10 will be fully fit for next year’s World Cup

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has admitted that he picked Lionel Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo for this year’s Ballon d’Or.

Messi has won the award for the past four years but the Barcelona ace has an injury-interrupted 2013 and many pundits believe that he will lose out to either Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo or Franck Ribery, who won a treble with Bayern Munich last season.

However, Sabella has revealed that he had absolutely no doubts about giving his backing to the Albiceleste‘s talismanic No.10.

“I voted for Messi – without a doubt,” the Argentina boss told Radio Continental. “Second was Cristiano and then third, Ribery.”

Messi is currently sidelined until the end of the year with a thigh problem but Sabella is confident that the 26-year-old will be in peak physical condition by the summer.

“He is going to recover well from injury and will be in good shape for the World Cup,” the 59-year-old stated. “Hopefully nothing happens from here to June.”

Argentina are one of the eight seeded teams for next week’s World Cup draw in Brazil.

Bayern Munich 2-0 Eintracht Braunschweig: Robben leads Roten to victory

Bayern Munich made it 39 Bundesliga matches without defeat with a routine 2-0 victory over Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday.

Guardiola’s side were in complete control at the Allianz Arena after Arjen Robben broke the deadlock in the second minute.

They went on to have over 80 per cent possession and doubled their lead as Robben netted his second with a trademark finish cutting in from the right – his sixth goal of the season.

Braunschweig failed to test Manuel Neuer in the opening half but did have two openings after the break that the Germany international was able to save.

Moments after Robben had gone close to netting his hat-trick, David Alaba made a sensational goal-line clearance to deny Karim Bellarabi and secure the victory.

The league leaders made two changes with Daniel van Buyten replacing Jerome Boateng at the heart of the defence and Thiago Alcantara taking the injured Philipp Lahm’s role in midfield.

Braunschweig also made two changes with Marco Caligiuri and Simeon Jackson coming in for Damir Vrancic and Timo Perthel.

Any hopes the visitors had of containing the defending champions were dashed in the second minute as Robben opened the scoring with Bayern’s first effort on target.

Thiago lifted a perfect ball over the defence for the Netherlands international, whose initial effort struck the post, but rebounded kindly for the winger to stoop and head home.

The early goal appeared to take the tempo out of the game, with Bayern dominating possession and patiently waiting for an opening.

And it came after 20 minutes from a left-wing corner, Dante rising highest to head towards the top corner only for Norman Theuerkauf to clear off the line and deny the Brazilian his first goal of the season.

Guardiola’s side did not have to wait long for the second goal though, as Robben grabbed his second 10 minutes later, typically jinking in from the right and firing home from 15 yards.

Braunschweig had two sights of goal in the opening minutes of the second half, but Simeon Jackson and Ermin Bicakcic were unable to convert.

Robben went close to claiming a hat-trick with a 72nd-minute free kick, he lifted the ball over the bar and beat Daniel Davari for pace but the ball clipped the top of the crossbar on its way over.

Bellarabi went close twice in the closing stages, but his long-range effort, after Neuer had rushed from his line, was acrobatically cleared by Alaba and the 23-year-old also saw a deflected effort clip the bar as Bayern just preserved a third consecutive clean sheet in the league.