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Jupp Heynckes believes four of his players can compete with Lionel Messi for the Ballon d'Or

Heynckes: Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Ribery & Muller are Ballon d'Or favourites

Jupp Heynckes believes four of his players can compete with Lionel Messi for the Ballon d'Or

AFP

The outgoing Bavarians coach believes four of his players are in the running for the award following their treble-winning season

Outgoing Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has tipped Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller and Philipp Lahm to vie for the 2013 Ballon d'Or.

Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi has taken home the award in the last four years but, following the Bavarians' treble-winning season, the veteran German trainer believes his players deserve to recognised.

"I think the Ballon d'Or is between Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller," he told reporters on Sunday.

"For me, these are the four candidates who must clean up this year."

Bayern won the DFB-Pokal final 3-2, surviving a late fightback from Stuttgart in Berlin to complete the unprecedented German treble.

They lifted the Champions League in May with a 2-1 win over German rivals Borussia Dortmund thanks to a late Arjen Robben strike, having wrapped up the Bundesliga in early April.

Heynckes, who is being replaced by ex-Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola this summer, has been linked with a return to Real Madrid recently, with Jose Mourinho having parted ways with the club.

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