Arjen Robben has distanced himself from claims that he backed Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Ballon d’Or ahead of Bayern Munich teammate Franck Ribery.
Robben is quoted as telling Dutch magazine Voetbal International that Ribery, who is on the three-man shortlist alongside Real Madrid’s Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, is not as deserving of the award individually as Ronaldo.
He said: "It’s deserved that Franck is in the Top 3, but it’s an individual award and that’s why I lean towards Ronaldo. He really deserves it."
This is in contrast to the united backing Ribery has received from others at Bayern, including endorsements from club president Uli Hoeness, who said that he would scrutinise the voting system, and first-team coach Pep Guardiola.
Robben’s quotes are reportedly the subject of irritation at Bayern, leading him to say: "That’s not right. I have only said that his goal rate and the dependence Real and the national team have on him are sheer madness.
"I have never said that I would vote for him.
"To 1,000 percent I hope that Ribery wins it. I have my fingers crossed. He has played a super year and absolutely deserves it."