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Pep heaps praise on Ribery and Robben

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola heaped praise on Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben when he spoke to reporters at a news conference at the club's winter training camp in Qatar on Monday.

• Schaaf: Why Ribery should win Ballon d'Or
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Ribery -- named the star of the first half of the season in a poll of Bundesliga footballers this week -- could be named the winner of the FIFA Ballon d'Or in Zurich on Monday.

And Guardiola said: "I have never seen such a player on this level with such a character, how he fights for his team. It is an honour for me to be his coach."

Guardiola has granted Ribery leave to attend the Ballon d'Or ceremony, where he will be competing with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the accolade.

"He should go there with a big smile and just relish it. It is not easy to achieve something like that. He should indulge in the moment," Guardiola said.

"Those three players are incredible. I am glad I don't have to decide [which one wins]."

The Bayern coach also praised Robben, who is currently working towards a comeback after suffering a knee injury in early December.

"I'm in love with Arjen," Guardiola declared in English. "In the whole of my career as player and coach, I've maybe seen one or two players who are as professional as Arjen. He has an unbelievable mentality.

"He was playing unbelievably well before his injury. I hope he makes a comeback as soon as possible and maintains his superb form."


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