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2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or: Pep Guardiola tells Manuel Neuer to "enjoy" ceremony

Even if he doesn't win the award, Pep Guardiola things Manuel Neuer has already won.

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Pep Guardiola's first press conference in Qatar was full of information. When asked about Manuel Neuer's chances of wrestling the Ballon d'Or away from Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi, Pep had this to say.

I told Manuel Neuer the same thing that I told Franck Ribery last season. "Go there and enjoy it. Don't worry about winning. If you can win, then it's fantastic, but if not, it's still a great achievement to be nominated. That's the best thing you can do." Just like Franck Ribery last season, Manuel has to be very proud of what he has achieved already. It is so difficult to be among the best three players in the world, and that's already good enough in my opinion. If he wins the award that's great, but if he doesn't win, it won't change our opinion about him just like our opinion of Franck Ribery didn't change either last season. Winning or losing doesn't matter. They both deserve great respect.

In my opinion, Manuel has already won. If you can fly to Zurich with a chance of winning this award, then you've already achieved a great victory. That's why, in my opinion, he should travel to Zurich a happy man. I told him to travel there and try to enjoy it. Of course, all three nominated players are absolutely outstanding athletes, and all three of them deserve to win this title. Manuel deserves it, and I hope he can win the Ballon d'Or.

Normally field players have better chances of winning this award, because scoring goals is obviously more spectacular than saving shots on goal. But, Manuel Neuer is an exception and outstanding player not only this season but in the past two, three, four, five years. I hope he can win. I hope he enjoys himself, and I hope he enjoys the whole event in Zurich.

Win or lose, Guardiola already believes Neuer has won just for being nominated. He knows that goalscorers will always be favored over non-goalscorers, but Neuer's "redefinition" of the goalkeeping position seems to be a common theme here.

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