Football: Outgoing coach Heynckes backs a Bayern star to win world player award

BERLIN (AFP) - Outgoing coach Jupp Heynckes has said he expects a Bayern Munich star to break Lionel Messi's stranglehold on the player of the year award after the Champions League winners' historic Treble.

Barcelona's Messi, 25, has been voted the world's best footballer for the last four years, but Heynckes expects the winner of the 2013 Ballon d'Or to come from a quartet of Bayern stars.

"I assume it will come from four players - they are the captains Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger, then Franck Ribery or Thomas Mueller," said Heynckes.

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

After winning the Champions League title, Bayern's 3-2 win over VfB Stuttgart in Saturday's German Cup final saw them become Germany's first team to win the Treble of European, Cup and league titles.

Messi won the first of his four successive Ballon d'Or crowns after Barca's 2009 Treble but it was he rather than an Inter Milan player who claimed the award after the Italians' own Treble a year later.

And in 1999, it was Barca's Brazilian forward Rivaldo who pipped David Beckham to the both the then-separate Ballon d'Or and short-lived Fifa World Player of the Year awards despite Manchester United's clean sweep.

In fact, Messi is the only player to have won the Ballon d'Or after his club side's Treble.

In 1988, AC Milan's Marco van Basten was honoured despite PSV Eindhoven's Treble. In 1972, Ajax won the same three trophies but Bayern Munich's Franz Beckenbauer was named Europe's top player and in 1967, it was Hungarian Florian Albert of Ferencvaros who took the individual gong despite Celtic's Treble.

After his side broke or equalled 25 records to win the Bundesliga title, Heynckes, 68, will reveal his future plans on Tuesday, having finished his two-year tenure as coach.

Ex-Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola will take charge as Bayern coach on June 26.

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