Guardiola lauds Ballon d'Or nominee Ribery
By Football News
Pep Guardiola said it is an honour to work with Franck Ribery after the French star helped Bayern Munich into the Club World Cup final.
Ribery scored the opening goal late in the first half as Bayern went on to dispose of Guangzhou Evergrande 3-0 in Tuesday's semi-final.
The in-form winger has been nominated for the FIFA Ballon D'or alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as the world's best player of 2013.
While he didn't go into comparisons between the talented trio, Guardiola admitted he is lucky to work with Ribery on a daily basis.
"For me it is an honour to be a trainer for Franck (Ribery)," the Bayern boss said.
"Franck, he has an unbelievable heart to play this game and it is so humble to play one, two, three, four times, up to 40 metres behind the play, to follow his opponent and help the team.
"For me it is an honour to be able to train him."
Bayern were always in control against the Asian champions but relied on three goals in the space of seven minutes either side of the break to progress to the final.
Ribery opened the scoring with a clinical left-foot volley from an acute angle before Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic struck on the stroke of half-time, before Mario Goetze rounded out the scoring.
The German giants will play either Raja Casablanca or Atletico Mineiro in Saturday's final.
"I am so, so happy for the players, Jupp Heynckes and the club to play the final next Saturday and I hope for the first time in Germany to win this title," Guardiola said.
"I am going to play the team who deserves to play the final against us. So it doesn't matter, we have to prepare as soon as possible our head and our legs and to know, the most important thing is to know we have a unique opportunity in our lives to play this final.
"It is not easy to be here, it is so difficult to try to become the best team in the world for the last season.
"So it is a good challenge for us and a good prepare, Raja or Mineiro are going to play as best possible to win this title."
Despite bowing out of the tournament, Guangzhou boss Marcelo Lippi was proud of the effort of his side.
He said: "After eighteen months of work, Guangzhou came here to play the Club World Cup Semi final. It was unthinkable.
"When I arrived in China it was unthinkable what we did winning two Chinese Super League titles, one Chinese Cup, one Asian Champions League and getting to this semi-final.
"This evening we have seen the difference between the strongest team in the world, and the rest of the teams.
"For us this is a prize for our growth."